AS IT HAPPENED: Dewani didn't mention chopper ride to me, says cop

2014-11-05 14:20

Get all the details from Wednesday's session in Shrien Dewani's murder trial at the Western Cape High Court.


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Last Updated at 13:22
05 Nov 16:12
That's it for today. Back tomorrow for more of the same. Cheers.

05 Nov 15:57
Court has adjourned for the day.

05 Nov 15:56
VL then left and took Tongo back to the Gugulethu police station.

05 Nov 15:55

Large group of family seen huddled around SD. He then walks down the passage to his room.

He sat on his bed and was crying on his bed, says VL.

05 Nov 15:52
Family seen following SD into a room at the hotel at around 09:20. VL says this is when SD received the call.

05 Nov 15:52
The State's Adriann Mopp to play two video clips. Hands in a narrative to the court.

05 Nov 15:48

VL: Mr Dewani refused counselling, saying the counsellor was smelling of alcohol. He is a priest and doesn't drink. We requested photographs of the deceased from Mr Dewani. He didn't have at that stage. He requested to be emailed to the hotel. I had that emailed to the provincial command centre, to all police.  Myself and Cnl Els went to the command centre and returned to the hotel

VL: Received a call at about 06:50 that the vehicle & body were recovered. I was at the Cape Grace hotel. Mr Dewani wasn't informed immediately. I received a call from his brother, requesting that I should pause in breaking the news to him. He would tell him, and arrangements were made for family at another hotel  in Cape Town to come to him. We waited. The family arrived and we made the call.

05 Nov 15:44

While SD's statement was being taken, VL says, he was getting others to locate the car and person.

VL: We had the registration number that we got from Tongo himself. We activated the dog unit, flying squad. Also arranged a helicopter that would be activated at first light. I also arranged for the identikit people to draw the identikit of the suspects and trauma counsellors.

05 Nov 15:38
VL: There was no mention of any money in his possession. No mention of a helicopter. Not to me, at least. No mention of money for a helicopter trip either.

05 Nov 15:36

VL relates what SD told officers: One hijacker got in at the front, the other was pointing the firearm to the back. One took his cellphone (the one pointing the gun). He managed to hide his wife's ring in the seat. He was dropped somewhere in the front seat.

He continues: The robbery continued after Tongo was let out. Somewhere further in the township, he (SD) was let out.

VL says SD was in a shocked state.

VL: We were there for an hour or two, for quite some time. Mr Dewani was in and out of the boardroom. 

05 Nov 15:32

VL and two other officers met with Dewani in the hotel boardroom. One of the others, Els, conducted the interview.

Dewani (SD) said he was on his way from supper with wife & driver, from Somerset West. He and his wife were viewing photos and on the way she insisted that she wanted to see the nightlife in the township. SD said he wasn't feeling well, but his wife insisted. He alerted the driver. He saw a green board pointing to Gugulethu.

05 Nov 15:29
VL says they met Dewani in a small boardroom. He was directed there by hotel staff.

05 Nov 15:29
The police officer is so soft-spoken there have been three requests already for him to speak up.

05 Nov 15:27
VL informed Colonel Els, his superior. VL gave instructions to take Tongo to the hotel. That's where they'll meet to start their investigation.

05 Nov 15:26
There were two Indian foreigners, didn't know their names, only that they stayed at the Cape Grace hotel.

05 Nov 15:25

Tongo's statement was taken prior to Lutchman's arrival at the the crime office. Statement was taken by uniformed police.

Lutchman (henceforth VL) recounts Tongo's version, that two men approached the vehicle, one at the window, another at the bonnet.

05 Nov 15:23

Lutchman started his career in Kwazulu-Natal, before being transferred to the Western Cape in 2002. Currently in service at Gugulethu Police Station, as group commander, in charge of a group of detectives.

He was called out to an unrelated shooting incident on 13 November 2010. Informed of a hijacking later that evening.

That evening, he met Zola Tongo at the crime office. He presented himself as a complainant.

05 Nov 15:20
State calls Captain Vinesh Lutchman. He joined the police in 1983.

05 Nov 15:19

State's Shareen Riley (SR): Do you recognise any of the numbers on page 1? ZT: I recognise the one, written Spra.

SR: Did you get your cellphone back after the incident? ZT? No.

SR: Regarding the payment. Yesterday you were asked about payment to SW and Mzoli's. Did you expect, in addition to the R5 000, further payment from the accused? ZT: Yes. The state has no further questions.

Traverso: Mr Tongo, you will be pleased to know that you are finished and free to go.

05 Nov 15:15

ZT is still on the stand. The prosecution is now re-examining.

05 Nov 14:54

ZT's cross-examination is over. He must be so relieved. Seven days on the witness stand is undeniably taxing.

Court adjourns for 15 minutes to allow Van Zyl to confer with Dewani.

05 Nov 14:52

VZ: In summary, the accused will say that your evidence that he conspired with you to have his wife killed is simply not the truth. What do you say to that?

ZT: Those are lies!

ZT: When it is my time to be released from prison, I will be released from prison. No one can stand in the way of that.

05 Nov 14:49
ZT basically shooting down SD's alibi as lies, damned lies.

05 Nov 14:46
VZ:he says at some point he received a text message from you "have you got it" or something like that. He replied "have it".

05 Nov 14:44
VZ: You asked if he had the money. What do you say to that? ZT: Those are lies. What the accused wanted to know is where the men are.

05 Nov 14:42
VZ: He will say in that conversation (as Surfside), he again asked you about the helicopter.

05 Nov 14:40
ZT: Why would I take them to Surfside, if they made arrangements at another restaurant?

05 Nov 14:30
VZ's going through Dewani's plea explanation and admissions i.e. SD's version of events, step-by-step. ZT refutes all.

05 Nov 14:27

VZ: He will further say he had to return from a restaurant to collect his cellphone he'd forgotten in his room.

VZ: There was a missed call from you and he returned your call. What do you say? ZT: As I've said, there was some communication on Friday and Saturday. The fact that I gave him a missed call, I can't remember.

05 Nov 14:27

VZ: He says you asked him if you could organise other trips for him like wine trips and he said he will discuss this with his wife and hear what she wants to do. Any comment?

ZT: Those are lies.  I gave him my business card on the Friday, he saved my number, we contacted each other than evening and Saturday. 

ZT: before we went to exchange the money.

05 Nov 14:21

VZ: He will further say he enquired of a place where he can exchange money at a good rate. What do you say?

ZT: Yes. That is the place I took him to. I don't know how much money he had or how much he got.

05 Nov 14:20

ZT: What the accused said to me, as I've said, is that he has a business proposal, that he will expand my business. That is good news for me. The fact that the accused said to me to arrange a helicopter tour, he never said that to me.

VZ: He will say he wanted a private helicopter and told you about the private jet he and his wife flew in to Paris. ZT: Sir, My Lady, those are nonsense lies that are being said. The accused never said that to me.

VZ: He says you said you can get it for R20 000. He said if you can get it for R15 000 he will take it. ZT: I repeat, those are lies and nonsense.

05 Nov 14:18

VZ: He said he'll call you later, he wants to check in. You said you have some time and will wait.

ZT: Those are double lies. What I'm telling is the truth. What the accused said is that he has a business proposal or job for me.

VZ: The accused will say he went to the front desk, requested an upgrade, he excused himself and told his wife he is going to chat to you about some tours. You were in your car. he got in on the passenger side. He says you asked how long they will be in Cape Town for. He says he wasn't specific and said they'll be here for a few days. You again offered trips. He said what he is really interested in is a private helicopter trip.

ZT: Sir, when the accused got into the car, he never spoke about tours

05 Nov 14:14

VZ: Mr Tongo, the accused will say that after you arrived at the Cape Grace and as he was paying you, he will say you again repeatedly offered to assist him with tours. Did you offer to assist with tours at that stage?

ZT: Correct. VZ: He will also say, while he was paying you, he was interested in a private helicopter trip, as a surprise for his wife. He then asked you if you could organise a helicopter trip as a surprise. You had said to do a private tour. What do you say to that.

ZT: That's just nonsense and lies. There is no pilot that I know. There is a place that I know I would normally tale my people to but we never discussed anything to do with a helicopter.

VZ: the accused will say you gave him your business card and stored your number on his BlackBerry cellphone...

05 Nov 14:08
ZT: Whether he had the full amount or not, we don't know as much as the defence does not know how much he had.

05 Nov 14:08

VZ: Mr. Dewani did not take R15 000 as agreed by you. He took only R10 000. ZT: As to how much money the accused had in his pocket, I wouldn't know, because I can't get into his pocket. But as to where & how much, that's what we agreed.

VZ: Now I'm putting it to you that he took what was in his wife's handbag and R4 000 for expenses.

05 Nov 14:05

Proceedings resume. Court picks up where they left off - with mention of this prisoner, Mr Mitchell.

Traverso: What Mr Dewani is saying is that he has no knowledge of what Mr Mitchell said.

ZT: Then we are in the same position.

VZ: Mr Dewani will say there was no agreement as to how he should pay the hitmen. Tongo: No, sir, there was.

VZ: Let's try to cut this short. There could not have been certainty from Mr. Dewani that the killers were going to look at the money to see how much there is. ZT: I agree.

05 Nov 12:58
Court adjourns for lunch. On a rather exciting note too.

05 Nov 12:57

ZT hits back at claims: This is nonsense and all lies. Maybe he saw this on TV.

VZ: He then asked you how you can allow an innocent "bra" (man) to go to prison and you replied "these people have a lot of money. And you said you were advised to pin it on Mr Dewani, to get a lesser sentence.

ZT: This is nonsense and all lies. This is what you will call, in prison terms, prison stories.

05 Nov 12:51
VZ: He asked why kill such a pretty girl, why not just rape her. why kill her. You said your accusers jeopardised the whole plan. The plan was to kidnap her and hold her hostage. One of them wanted to rape her. A quarrel ensued and a shot went off. You further told him that you thought of blackmailing Mr Dewani to kill his wife.

05 Nov 12:47

VZ: In early 2011, when the accused was still in the UK, fighting his extradition on among others, mental grounds, the accused hired an attorney in Cape Town, Taswell Papier, for the company instructing now. He got a call from a warder, on behalf of Mr. Mitchell. And we will call Mr Mitchell as a witness... He said he had info. Listen carefully. He said you were showering. You told him you noticed he got life... You said you were happy you didn't get life. If you didn't enter a plea deal, you'd get life.

VZ continues: He asked you about the Dewani case. You didn't want to talk. He convinced you that you could trust him.

05 Nov 12:43
VZ: You will recall I asked whether you were held in section 5 (at prison) and if you know Bernard Mitchell.

05 Nov 12:41

Traverso: Sorry to interrupt. You said in your evidence-in-chief and statement that when you got this job you thought the hunger was over. What did you mean? ZT: I thought I'd be working over that weekend and they were going to use me and my selling myself paid off.

VZ: The accused will say he doesn't know why you will tell the court that he was somehow involved in his wife's murder, because he was not.

ZT: It's not that he is involved. He is the actual one who gave the instruction as to what must happen. That is why Monde said we were five. 

05 Nov 12:39

VZ: The accused will tell the court that he never conspired with you or anyone else to kill his wife. I presume you will say he did.

ZT: Those are lies, My Lady. VZ: He will also say he does not know what went down here maybe you and your friends saw them as easy targets. ZT: Those are lies, My Lady

VZ: Maybe there was a more sinister motive. ZT: Those are lies.

The defence lawyer, who is generally quite a gentleman in court, is now really pushing the State's most important witness. And ZT's already quite angry...

05 Nov 12:36

Traverso: But surely there was a discussion. ZT: We decided that the person was going to be killed. Traverso: How?

ZT says: We never came to a decision whether the person was to be killed with a firearm or stabbed. The fact that heard that the person was going to look for his "kierie" (meaning gun), maybe that person does not use it when he is killing her. What I am trying to reveal, is yes there was a firearm and they were going to look for another one. Maybe they decide, okay we won't use it no more. Traverso: What was the deal?

ZT: The deal was that his business partner had to be killed.

05 Nov 12:33

Traverso: If I understood your evidence correctly, the accused initiated the discussion of what would happen that night. You knew they already had one firearm and part of the instruction from the accused what that you must kill my business partner. You surely must have known that it's likely she'll be shot.

ZT: I knew she was going to be killed. To be shot, I was not sure.

05 Nov 12:30

VZ: The court has heard evidence of how the deceased was shot. She was shot once, in the upper chest, bullet went through her left hand. It is the defence's case that that is not an execution shot. We also heard from Mr Qwabe that after the deceased was shot, he drove into a residential area. Were you aware of these facts?

ZT: I was not present at the time. As to what was going to happen, where how, whether she was to be shot, stabbed or strangled. I don't know. I was not there. VZ: Were you concerned about your car? Did you tell them not to do it (kill deceased) in you car?

05 Nov 12:28

VZ rephrases. There was telephonic communication between the two of you and he asked for money. Is that right?

ZT: Correct.

He says what he is trying to reveal is that "if he demanded R10 000 or R15 000, I had nothing to do with that. He just had to go to the young men.

05 Nov 12:24

VZ now refers to ZT's plea statement.

In it, ZT says he called Monde to enquire whether the 1st man (Qwabe) had paid the R5 000.

ZT: I repeat. The fact that Monde wanted R5 000 from me, I don't know. I referred him to the young men.

VZ: You statement says you phoned him to enquire and not, as you testified earlier, that he called you.

This State objects (it's first objection in days) - they say ZT didn't say that. VZ apologises.

05 Nov 12:22
Back to Monde demanding R5 000 - ZT maintains he told Monde that his money had nothing to do with him and that he told Monde to discuss that with the young men.

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