Dewani sheds tears in court on 4th anniversary

2014-10-29 21:03
British millionaire Shrien Dewani sits in a car leaving the Cape Town High Court. (File: AFP)

British millionaire Shrien Dewani sits in a car leaving the Cape Town High Court. (File: AFP)

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Cape Town – Honeymoon murder accused Shrien Dewani shed a few tears in the Western Cape High Court on Wednesday – on what would have been his fourth wedding anniversary – as CCTV footage of his wife Anni and him was shown in court.

The footage appeared to show two different sides to their relationship. In the first grainy camera shots, Dewani and Anni Hindocha walk into a Strand mall to dine at a restaurant – her last meal. Their body language does not appear to be what you’d expect from a newly-wed couple – they walk side by side but not closely, and Dewani is later seen walking ahead of her, hands in his pockets, while Anni’s arms are crossed.

But in the next footage, recorded earlier in the evening, the couple looked happy and relaxed as they waited for taxi driver Zola Tongo to fetch them from the Cape Grace Hotel. Dewani takes a picture of Anni, which she checks, and can be seen smiling.

Dewani wiped a few tears from his eyes as this was shown in court, while Anni’s family sat silently, displaying little of the distress seeing the last recorded footage of her must have caused them.

The footage was shown during Tongo’s testimony as the State established a timeline of events on 12 and 13 November 2010, from the couple’s arrival at the airport to the night Tongo’s shuttle taxi was allegedly hijacked.

He is serving an 18-year sentence for his role in Anni’s murder, while Dewani is on trial for allegedly arranging for her to be killed in a staged hijacking.

Further footage shows Tongo and Dewani both making calls outside the restaurant, at different times.

The State argued Tongo was calling his accomplices, while Dewani contacted Tongo to ensure that their plan was still in place, and explain where the money for the job would be.

Dewani and Anni left the restaurant at 22:25 and were driven to Gugulethu, where the fatal hijacking took place.

Before completing, Tongo explained that he turned himself into the police because “… what I did was wrong, secondly, I was a fool, thirdly, I was misled.”

Cross-examination

Defence advocate Francois van Zyl started his detailed cross-examination of Tongo by examining his previous statement to police and plea bargain agreement, pointing out that he knew the minimum sentence would be life imprisonment.

He then went through Tongo’s statement, picking out inconsistencies, such as what happened when he met Dewani at the airport, where the discussion about “having a job” for him took place, why he accepted it, and whether Dewani allegedly offered dollars or rands for the job.

The conversation in the taxi en route to the hotel was also examined, with Van Zyl saying he found it odd that Tongo says he only spoke to Anni on three occasions over the two days – before pointing out that Tongo himself had said Anni had berated him for speaking on his cellphone while driving. Tongo admitted that he made a mistake.

But mistakes seemed to continue to crop up, as Van Zyl went through Tongo’s statements and earlier evidence in fine detail, pointing out a number of further inconsistencies.

As Tongo is clearly a vital witness for the State’s case, being the only person Dewani allegedly dealt directly with, it is important for the defence to paint him as an untruthful and unreliable witness whose testimony cannot be considered credible.

Van Zyl appeared exasperated at times as Tongo evaded directly answering his questions. The cross-examination is set to continue on Thursday and possibly even on Monday.

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

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