AWOL witness stalls Dewani trial

2012-10-25 22:38
(Picture: AP)

(Picture: AP)

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Cape Town - The trial of a man alleged to have killed tourist Anni Dewani was postponed on Thursday because an alibi witness could not be tracked down.

The Western Cape High Court heard that Xolile Mngeni's lawyers had visited Khayelitsha during lunch on Thursday to bring back "Smollie", a friend of his girlfriend at the time.

"We don't happen to have a witness... [but] we've located her, my Lord. We were told she was at her boyfriend's place, but when we went there she presumably was out," said Mngeni's lawyer Qalisile Dayimani.

The trial was postponed until Monday, when she would take the stand.

Mngeni has pleaded not guilty to hijacking, robbing and killing Dewani in Gugulethu on 13 November 2010.

While on the stand this week, he testified he had been with his girlfriend, "Smollie" and her boyfriend that evening.

Dayimani indicated that the witness planned for Monday was the "crucial one".

Judge Robert Henney asked if he required the court's assistance, in the form of a subpoena, to force the witness to appear.

At first he declined the offer, but after consulting with prosecutors, he agreed. He said he would assist in serving this subpoena.

Henney warned the defence to be ready on Monday and to have other witnesses on standby.

"We will gather on Monday if we call any more witnesses," the lawyer replied.

The defence had sung a different tune on Wednesday, when it said it hoped to call Mngeni's girlfriend, three alibi witnesses and possibly a fourth.

The court had also previously been informed of a doctor who would testify about an injury to Mngeni's left hand in 2009.

His lawyers had argued that the injury would have prevented him from firing a gun.

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Read more on:    anni hindocha  |  xolile mngeni  |  cape town  |  honeymoon hijacking
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