No more delays in Dewani accused trial

2012-08-13 16:14
Xolile Mngeni. (Schalk van Zuydam, AP)

Xolile Mngeni. (Schalk van Zuydam, AP)

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Cape Town – No further delays in the case against one of the men accused of murdering honeymooner Anni Dewani would be accepted, Judge Robert Henney told the State and defence at pre-trial proceedings on Monday.

The trial of Xolile Mngeni will get underway in the Western Cape High Court on Wednesday.

The court heard a recent medical report confirmed Mngeni was fit to stand trial, even though he had a malignant brain tumour.

His lawyer Matthews Dayimani said the report concluded his client's "attentional focus" was slightly reduced.

Henney said it would be costly for the State to order transcripts of proceedings, but would see if an exception could be made.

He suggested Mngeni sit next to his lawyer during the trial, taking notes where possible, and consult the lawyer during adjournments.

Weak

Mngeni looked frail on Monday and had to be led in through the public entrance by a policeman, as the courtroom was not linked to a basement holding cell.

He leaned heavily on a walking frame, using one arm to keep a jacket wrapped around his face. A frenzy ensued when several photographers jostled around the benches to get to him.

His trial had been set down until the end of the court term, on 21 September.

The State originally intended calling 16 witnesses, but this was likely to be whittled down after his co-accused Mziwamadoda Qwabe's confessions, which implicated Mngeni.

Dayimani said he was still waiting for the witness list and media footage. The State said all footage had been handed over.

Mngeni faces charges of kidnapping, robbery with aggravating circumstances, murder, and the illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition.

Implicated


Dewani, 28, was shot in an apparent car hijacking while on honeymoon with her husband Shrien in Cape Town in November 2010.
Qwabe pleaded guilty to the same charges last week, as part of a plea and sentencing agreement. He was sentenced to in effect 25 years in jail.

The plea agreement offered insight into the apparent sequence of events the night of the murder, and implicated Shrien Dewani as the conspirator in a contract killing.

Qwabe said he and Mngeni agreed to the job in exchange for R15 000. He alleged Mngeni pulled the trigger.

Shrien Dewani has repeatedly denied the allegations against him. He is being treated in the UK for depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

At the end of July, his lawyer Claire Montgomery told the Westminster Magistrate's Court that keeping her client under medical treatment in the United Kingdom for 12 months would speed up his recovery. Sending him to South Africa would jeopardise it.

The British Press Association reported at the time that the hearing was adjourned to 18 September, for a psychiatrist to examine Dewani and give the court more information about his condition.

Only then would a decision be made on whether he was fit to stand trial in Cape Town.

Read more on:    anni hindocha  |  xolile mngeni  |  shrien dewani  |  cape town  |  honeymoon hijacking

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