Closing arguments in Mngeni case delayed

2012-10-31 14:24
Xolile Mngeni. (Sapa)

Xolile Mngeni. (Sapa)

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Cape Town - The Western Cape High Court postponed closing arguments on Wednesday in the trial of tourist Anni Dewani's alleged killer.

Deputy director of public prosecutions Adrian Mopp asked for the court's indulgence in postponing Xolile Mngeni's trial until Monday, for further time to prepare.

The defence did not object and Judge Robert Henney granted the postponement.

The State was to have presented its case on Wednesday and the defence its case on Thursday.

"It was maybe a bit too optimistic and a bit unfair on counsel to pressure them with their heads of argument," the judge said, referring to the one-and-a-half days given to the State.

Pleaded not guilty

Dewani and her husband Shrien were hijacked while shuttle driver Zola Tonga was ferrying them through Gugulethu on 13 November 2010.

Tonga and the couple were robbed of their possessions. Shrien was ordered out of the minibus and Anni Dewani was shot dead on the back seat.

Mngeni pleaded not guilty at the start of his trial to charges of robbery, kidnapping, murder and possession of an unlicensed firearm.

He made no initial formal admissions, meaning the State had to prove each fact in its case. It called 26 witnesses. The defence put up Mngeni and two alibi witnesses.

Calling the trial very important and robust, Henney said both parties had made good with the time available and it was time to "sit back" and allow them to prepare adequately.

He commended the State for the evidence it had presented and the defence for getting its witnesses to the stand in good time.
Henney hinted the matter would very likely be finalised by 15 November.

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