Dewani's 'German Master' back in court

2014-10-28 12:42
(File: AP)

(File: AP)

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Cape Town - UK gay escort Leopold Leisser was called back to testify in his ex-client Shrien Dewani's murder trial on Tuesday, with strict instructions not to talk about a certain conversation they had.

Leisser, 43, the so-called "German Master", was called as the State's 11th witness in the Western Cape High Court on Monday, but was asked to stand down when the defence objected to the admissibility of the conversation.

Dewani is accused of the murder of his wife Anni Hindocha during their honeymoon in Cape Town in November 2010.

Prosecutor Adrian Mopp had to argue on Tuesday why the court should admit the evidence regarding a disclosure Dewani apparently made to Leisser about his impending marriage to Anni in 2010.

Mopp said he did not intend to introduce evidence relating to activities of a sexual nature. He said the evidence would show a possible motive and a conspiracy to kill Anni while on honeymoon in Cape Town.

The defence argued the evidence was irrelevant.

After considering the arguments, Deputy Judge President Jeanette Traverso said: "I am not going to allow the evidence and rule it as inadmissible."

Earlier, Mopp argued that relevance was not determined in a vacuum.

He said that at the admissibility stage, the judge's role was to estimate the potential contribution of the evidence and not its weight.

"The sufficiency of the evidence will be determined in the light of all the evidence and we make the submission that the motive of the accused is relevant."

Traverso said she had to consider his submissions in light of what was already placed before her, such as common cause facts.

Mopp said further that Dewani was neither procedurally disadvantaged nor prejudiced as his defence would be able to challenge what was being presented.

Traverso asked how long the relationship between Dewani and Leisser lasted.

Ongoing relationship

Mopp said the physical relationship took place between September 2009 and April 2010. However, the pair had maintained contact after Anni's death.

"The period of contact is not only prior to the accused getting engaged and marrying the deceased. It spans the entire period."

Pieter Botha, for Dewani, said finding that evidence was relevant was not enough. It needed to be sufficiently relevant to avoid cases dragging on for years.

He argued that Dewani had admitted at the outset that he was bisexual and had same-sex encounters in the past.

"There cannot be any talk of a relationship. The two of them met on three occasions... Where is the relationship?" Botha asked.

The evidence neither proved nor disproved that he had a motive, he said.

Dewani has pleaded not guilty to charges of murder, kidnapping, robbery with aggravating circumstances, conspiracy to commit these crimes, and defeating the ends of justice.

Dewani claims the couple were hijacked as they were being driven through Gugulethu in a minibus on Saturday, 13 November 2010.

He was released unharmed and Anni 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 and paid them R15 000.

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

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