Dewani set to make third court appearance

2014-06-20 05:00
Murder accused Shrien Dewani in Cape Town. (Leigh-Anne Jansen, Sapa)

Murder accused Shrien Dewani in Cape Town. (Leigh-Anne Jansen, Sapa)

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Johannesburg – Murder accused Shrien Dewani is expected to make his third appearance in the Western Cape High Court on Friday, a little more than two months since his extradition to South Africa.

The court was expected to get an update on his mental health.

Dewani, who has been at the Valkenberg Hospital in Cape Town receiving further treatment for his mental health, appeared in court last month during a pre-trial hearing when the matter was postponed.

At the time Francois van Zyl, for Dewani, provided insight during the hearing on how his client had fared in his month as a hospital patient.

Dewani's legal team was informed that he had been fully co-operative and that his condition had improved.

They were also told by treating psychiatrists not to consult with him for longer than 30 minutes at a time, Van Zyl told the court.

He said Dewani lacked the ability to concentrate for longer than this time but he remained hopeful that his client would improve enough to "instruct us properly".

Before his extradition to South Africa in April, Dewani was detained in a hospital in Britain for depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

According to the indictment handed to the court, Dewani is charged with conspiracy to commit kidnapping, robbery with aggravating circumstances, murder, kidnapping, and defeating the ends of justice.

‘Common purpose’

It is the State's case that he acted in common purpose and conspired with Cape Town residents Zola Tongo, Mziwamadoda Qwabe and Xolile Mngeni to kill his wife.

In return, the State alleges Dewani would provide payment to the perpetrators.

Tongo, Qwabe, and Mngeni are already serving jail terms in connection with the murder.

Dewani has not yet been asked to plead.

Dewani claimed he and his wife Anni were kidnapped at gunpoint as they drove through Gugulethu in Cape Town in a taxi in November 2010.

The couple had been on honeymoon in the country. He was released unharmed, but his wife's body was found in the abandoned car the next day. She had been shot dead.

The National Prosecuting Authority, the police and the justice department have been waiting for over three years to get Dewani into the accused dock in a South African court.

Dewani's parents and other relatives have been in court supporting him.

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