‘Dewani revealing his bisexuality is a strategic move’

2014-10-08 00:00

CAPE TOWN — Shrien Dewani’s admission that he is bisexual and had paid for sex with male prostitutes was a strategic move.

Ulrich Roux, a criminal law attorney in Gauteng, said Dewani had placed the information about his sexuality on record at the start of the trial on his own terms so that he did not have to admit or deny it later.

Roux said Dewani can now rely on the impression he made by not hiding anything from the court from the start, including that he paid “German sex master” Leopold Leisser for sex.

The British businessman is charged with having his wife, Anni, murdered on their honeymoon in Cape Town in 2010. He pleaded not guilty to all five charges against him on Monday.

The trial resumes today in the Western Cape High Court.

Lecturer in process law at the University of Stellen­bosch, Theo Broodryk, said Dewani’s full disclosure prevents the accused’s sexuality from being made public in a more negative light by the state’s witnesses.

Broodryk said Dewani’s frank self-portrayal took away any element of surprise the state may have had.

Roux said everyone is now waiting to see if Leisser will testify on claims that Dewani had admitted to him that he was unhappy with Anni and his marriage.

“In the absence of that testimony — and if the state will not try to prove that he was unhappy in his marriage and with his wife, his sexual tastes will not really be of interest.”

Broodryk argued Dewani’s sexual preferences will be relevant if they formed part of a possible motive.

The importance his admission will have on the case will become clearer as the trial progresses.

“The defence can try to prove that, although Shrien is bisexual, the nature of his relations with women — specifically with Anni — are characterised by an emotional bond, rather than a physical attraction, and that this creates doubt about the state’s murder charge,” said Broodryk.

William Booth, a criminal law attorney from Cape Town, said the defence will try to counter any charge that Dewani’s new marriage was already on the rocks, which could have been why Dewani would arrange for his wide to be murdered.

“An accused’s sexual preferances should not have any bearing on a criminal case … A specific sexual predilection does not mean the person is guilty of murder.”

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