Dewani's defence blasts witness over vehicle

2014-10-22 16:05
(Picture: AP)

(Picture: AP)

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Cape Town - A police official who organised the re-enactment of how honeymooner Anni Dewani was shot admitted on Wednesday that the conditions did not match those in the original hijacked vehicle.

Ballistics expert Pieter Engelbrecht seemed to falter as Pieter Botha, for Anni's husband Shrien, fired questions about three re-enactment videos shown to the Western Cape High Court.

The first video showed a woman in the right rear seat being shot from the front passenger seat, while the other two showed a woman in the same position being shot by a man opening the left rear door.

Engelbrecht testified that he conducted an investigation of a VW Sharan vehicle which matched the one that was hijacked and also took measurements of distances between the seats.

He admitted that the vehicle they used was a different model and that it would have been difficult to obtain the original vehicle owned by convicted killer Zola Tongo, who was serving 18 years in jail for his role in the murder.

"I am still trying to understand what on earth you wanted to achieve with taking measurements of a vehicle that had nothing to do with the original vehicle," the lawyer replied, shaking his head.

Dewani seemed excited in the dock. He shook his head often, smiled at times and at one point, looked up to the ceiling and mouthed something.

He is accused of the murder of his wife during their honeymoon in Cape Town in November 2010. He has pleaded not guilty to the five counts against him, maintaining that the couple were the victims of a hijacking on 13 November 2010.

The State alleges that he conspired with others to stage the hijacking in return for R15 000.

Her slumped body was found in the abandoned shuttle taxi in Khayelitsha the following day.

Referring to vehicle photos taken at the crime scene, Botha said it was patently clear that the passenger front seat was more forward-placed than the driver's seat.

Engelbrecht said he could not see the difference. Eventually, he conceded that the front passenger seat was moved a little more forward.

"When you did your tests, did you position the left front seat in the same position?"

Engelbrecht replied that he did not make any adjustments to the test vehicle.

Botha said the middle rear seat was also more forward when compared to the left rear seat.

The defence then asked for the measurements that Engelbrecht took from the original vehicle but he said he did not have them with him.

Prosecutor Adrian Mopp said Engelbrecht's notes were disclosed to the defence. The defence said they had yet to see those measurements.

Botha informed the witness that the original vehicle had an entirely new row of backseats which contained armrests.

Traverso interrupted and asked "as a layperson", whether it was not of the utmost importance to have the exact measurements when trying to come to a conclusion about the shooting.

"No, you are right," Engelbrecht said, shifting side to side in the stand.

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

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