Qwabe asked why he delayed plea bargain

2014-10-08 17:51
(Picture: AFP)

(Picture: AFP)

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Mixed reactions to the Dewani trial

2014-10-08 11:49

Shrien Dewani is on trial for the murder of his wife, Anni Dewani, while the two honeymooned in Cape Town. We took to the streets of the Mother City to ask your opinion on the trial. Watch.WATCH

Cape Town - British businessman Shrien Dewani's lawyer asked his client's alleged accomplice on Wednesday why he took two years to enter into a plea bargain over his involvement in Anni Dewani's murder in 2010.

"I wasn't sure at the time and my lawyer I used at the time decided we should take the plea bargain," State witness Mziwamadoda Qwabe told lawyer Francois van Zyl during cross-examination.

"We both looked at the evidence and we both decided we should take the plea bargain. Before then I hadn't decided. I wasn't sure then."

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

The State alleges he conspired with others to stage the hijacking in Gugulethu on 13 November 2010.

Qwabe confirmed he had claimed he had an alibi for the evening of 13 November.

Van Zyl said he had testified under oath in his bail application in a magistrate's court that he was going to plead not guilty because he had an alibi.

"Was that a lie?" Van Zyl asked.

Qwabe said it was.

Van Zyl reminded him he was under oath while testifying in Dewani's trial.

Qwabe was sentenced to 25 years in jail for his role in the crime, in terms of a plea and sentencing agreement reached in August 2012.

Prison terms for accomplices

Accomplice Xolile Mngeni is serving life for pulling the trigger of the gun that killed Dewani. A third man, Zola Tongo, is serving 18 years in jail.

Van Zyl asked Qwabe whether his nickname was Abongile, as he had been referred to by his accomplices during previous criminal proceedings.

"I have never been called Abongile, not once, never."

Van Zyl asked about the gun used to kill Dewani.

Qwabe said he had his firearm for two to three months before it was used to kill her. He had bought it in the township during a drinking stint but could not remember from whom.

Before then, he had owned a licensed 9mm Norinco firearm.

Police confiscated it because a case of attempted murder was opened against him.

Van Zyl asked him why he had bought the illegal firearm.

"There in the township it is not safe and I wanted to protect myself," he said.

He loaned the firearm and ammunition to Mngeni a few times before the shooting of Anni Dewani.

Van Zyl said it was strange to lend a firearm to someone he described as an acquaintance and not even ask what it was used for.

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

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