Common theme in Dewani witnesses - State

2014-11-25 19:13
(Picture: AP)

(Picture: AP)

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Judge will now decide if Dewani trial will be dismissed

2014-11-25 14:52

Deputy Judge President Jeanette Traverso will now take two weeks to decide whether Shrien Dewani's case will be dismissed. Watch.WATCH

Cape Town - The testimonies of the main State witnesses in British businessman Shrien Dewani's trial all had a similar theme despite discrepancies and inconsistencies, the Western Cape High Court heard on Tuesday.

"The witnesses are in agreement that somebody had to be killed and there was a fee of R15 000 that was to be paid," said prosecutor Adrian Mopp.

It was inevitable that discrepancies might occur between witnesses, he added.

Deputy Judge President Jeanette Traverso was hearing arguments in an application by Dewani's team to have him discharged of killing his wife Anni Hindocha in 2010.

Traverso fired numerous questions at him about the credibility and reliability of Dewani's alleged accomplices, who were called to the stand over the past two months.

The crucial witness was shuttle taxi driver Zola Tongo, who met the couple at Cape Town International Airport and drove them around.

Explaining why Tongo seemed to change his story from his initial affidavit to his testimony, Mopp said his state of mind at the time was important.

He said Tongo had told the court he was grappling with the seriousness of what he had done at the time he deposed to an affidavit.

Traverso asked how many mistakes Tongo had conceded to and Mopp said "a number", to which she replied "A number? A lot".

Mopp said some of the mistakes were immaterial and some were actually in favour of the accused.

The court had repeatedly raised the issue of how the arrangement to kill was very poorly planned.

"You are relying on a conspiracy, not so? Do you think that the accused would have gone along with these loose arrangements?" the judge asked.

Mopp said there was constant communication between Tongo and Dewani at the time.

"All of those are attempts by the accused to make sure that things are on track."

‘A penny, in for a pound’

Traverso wanted to know why Dewani would be robbed of R4 000 in the apparent faked hijacking if he were a co-conspirator.

"My Lady, in for a penny, in for a pound. If you engage with criminals, who knows what is going to happen. How funny would it be if he was left unscathed on that occasion? There is no room for those type of negotiations," Mopp replied.

She asked why Tongo would activate the child locks on both back-doors if he knew Dewani would need to escape the back seat and he replied that the door was opened for him from the outside.

"He [Tongo] has given the mandate to them. He knows that no serious harm will come to him or the accused," Mopp replied.

Dewani is on trial for allegedly plotting with Tongo and others to kill his wife Anni while they were on honeymoon in Cape Town in November 2010.

He has pleaded not guilty to charges including kidnapping, murder and defeating the ends of justice.

He claims the couple was hijacked while Tongo drove them through Gugulethu in his minibus on Saturday, 13 November 2010.

He was released unharmed and Anni was driven away. She was found shot dead in the abandoned minibus in Khayelitsha the next morning.

The State alleges he conspired with others to stage the hijacking, for which he paid R15 000.

He maintains that Tongo helped him organise a surprise helicopter trip for Anni for R15 000.

Tongo is serving an 18-year jail term and Mziwamadoda Qwabe, a 25-year jail term. Xolile Mngeni was serving life in jail for firing the shot that killed Anni, but died in prison from a brain tumour on 18 October.

Monde Mbolombo was granted immunity from prosecution on two charges during Mngeni's trial but was warned he faced possible prosecution on various charges if he did not testify truthfully during Dewani's trial.

Read more on:    anni hindocha  |  shrien dewani  |  cape town  |  crime  |  dewani trial

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