Dewani judge lambasts State

2014-11-12 14:50
Shrien Dewani in court. (AP)

Shrien Dewani in court. (AP)

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Cape Town - Western Cape High Court Deputy Judge President Jeanette Traverso on Wednesday lambasted a prosecutor in Shrien Dewani's murder trial for scurrying around to finalise witnesses and the investigation.

Prosecutor Adrian Mopp had asked for a postponement until Friday for a witness to testify on primer residue found on a glove used in Anni Dewani's fatal shooting in November 2010.

He said the defence had a copy of the expert witness's report but then conceded the report did not include an aspect they wanted to lead the witness on and that would still need to be handed over.

The State had expected ballistician Warrant Officer Pieter Engelbrecht to testify but he told the court he could not because he was not an expert on that subject.

Traverso: Very disturbing

Traverso said Mopp must surely have known this in preparation for the trial.

"This crime was committed four years ago. There were lengthy extradition proceedings, statements have been made, video clips have been made, police have gone on television, Panarama programmes and other programmes about the State's case," she said.

"And now you are telling me that you are waiting for something as fundamental as primer residue?"
Traverso said it was "very disturbing" that the trial was in its 20th day and the State was still gathering witnesses.

Even during Engelbrecht's testimony, most of his evidence had been prepared while the trial was running, she said.

Mopp conceded that the State had only thought to obtain the results of the primer residue test after the defence asked for it.

"I must just express my great displeasure at the way in which the matter is being dealt with. This matter has cost the State a lot of money... When is it going to end, how is it going to end, how much more investigation do you want?" Traverso asked.

Cellphone mapping expert lined up

Mopp made a deal with Traverso that this was the last piece of the investigation that was needed.

A cellphone mapping expert lined up for testimony on Wednesday was not called because the defence did not dispute the relevant evidence.

Dewani is on trial for allegedly plotting with shuttle taxi driver Zola 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 they were hijacked as Tongo was driving them through Gugulethu in his minibus on Saturday, 13 November 2010.

Hijackers released Dewani unharmed

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 in return for 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.

Dewani fought his extradition to South Africa from the UK on the basis that he had mental health issues and was not fit to stand trial.

A few months ago, a panel at Valkenberg psychiatric hospital, where Dewani is in custody, unanimously found he was fit to stand trial.

The court will not sit on Thursday because it is the anniversary of Anni's death.

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

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