Dewani never gave me R500 - officer

2014-11-06 14:45
Shrien Dewani in the Western Cape High Court. (File: AFP)

Shrien Dewani in the Western Cape High Court. (File: AFP)

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Cape Town - A policeman assigned to look after Shrien Dewani and family members in 2010 never received R500 as a thank you gesture, he told the Western Cape High Court on Thursday.

Pieter Botha, for Dewani, asked Captain Vinesh Lutchman to confirm that his client gave him a thank-you card and R500 just before he left the country on 16 November 2010.

Lutchman, the State's 13th witness, said he got a card in a white envelope but no money.

Botha said the money was given because the officer had given some of his own chronic medication to Dewani's wife Anni's father and also driven them around and made calls on his phone.

"It was a state vehicle and in the course of duty," Lutchman replied.

"If he did give me R500 I would have brought it to the attention of my commander. If we get a gift we must declare it. I just opened it the next day and saw the card. There was no money in the card."

Botha tried to indicate that Lutchman might not want to admit he received money because he had not declared it, but the officer stuck to his version.

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

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.

Lutchman was appointed as the family liaison officer after the incident and spent most of the time with Dewani.

Suspicious behaviour

Deputy Judge President Jeanette Traverso asked whether there was anything about Dewani's behaviour that made him suspicious.

Lutchman said he did not act suspiciously.

The court earlier heard that Dewani did not attend a Hindu ceremony to bless his wife's body before it was repatriated.

He had told Lutchman he was going to go shopping.

Botha explained that Dewani had identified her body at the morgue the previous day and that was quite traumatic.

He simply did not want to see her body again.

"If it is a loved one's post-mortem and you thereafter have to identify the body, that is not a pleasant thing to do?" Botha asked of the witness.

Lutchman said it was not.

He said Dewani did not tell him about any of his holiday plans, including the surprise helicopter trip, and that it would have been strange given the circumstances.

He also conceded that Dewani might not have wanted to speak to a counsellor because he was anxious about the steps the police were taking to find his wife.

However, he stuck to his version that Dewani used the word "township" when explaining Anni wanted to see the nightlife.

He was excused from the stand.

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

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