SA failed Anni - UK media

2014-12-09 12:59
Anni Hindocha. (File: AFP)

Anni Hindocha. (File: AFP)

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Here's why the Dewani case was dismissed

2014-12-08 16:04

Western Cape High Court Deputy Judge President Jeanette Traverso, despite facing a petition calling for her recusal, ruled Shrien Dewani's case would be dismissed. Watch to find out which factors Traverso considered in her dismissal. WATCH

Cape Town - Cleared of murdering his wife, Shrien Dewani is set to fly home to the UK as a free man on Tuesday evening. News24 finds out how the British have reacted to the verdict.

Sympathy for Anni’s family, who wept on the steps of the Western Cape High Court on Monday, has swept across Britain. But there is little surprise at Judge Jeanette Traverso’s decision.

Case ‘built on South African sand’

The prosecutors had four years to prepare their case against Dewani, and yet it was “doomed from day one”, said The Guardian.

After a long and expensive legal battle for Dewani’s extradition from the UK, the newspaper said it was “bitter humiliation” for the state.

The State had once boasted to the media that their case against Dewani was watertight, “once in court, it leaked like a sieve”, the paper added.

Writing for The Express, a British tabloid, the Cape Town-based British reporter Dan Newling also rued that the case was “built on South African sand”.

Newling said the prosecution was only able to point to the plea-bargained witness testimonies of two self-confessed killers - whose evidence was “riddled with errors and contradictions”.

Police ‘failed her so completely’

Dewani’s acquittal will lead to “renewed questions” about the South African Police Service’s methods, said The Daily Telegraph, and the “effectiveness of the country’s prosecuting authorities”.

The Guardian pointed out that though most South African legal experts praised Traverso for making her decision in light of the flimsy evidence, “few argued that prosecutors should never have brought the case to trial in the first place”.

The Telegraph, meanwhile, highlighted the recent “long line” of high-profile cases which have not gone in the state’s favour, listing the Oscar Pistorius trial, the case of raped teenager Anene Booysen and 4-year-old Taegrin Morris who was dragged to his death.

The South African novelist Margie Orford, writing in a separate piece for The Guardian, also pointed to other victims of violence, arguing: “There are so many who have failed to receive a robust investigation followed by the satisfaction of justice”.

Orford said the SAPS and our justice system had “failed her [Anni] so completely”.

She added: “There would have been so many South Africans sharing the family’s anguish at not knowing how or why a loved one died”.

Alongside photos of Anni’s distraught family, The Times commented - along with many others - that the conclusion of the case left “more questions than answers”.

Dewani would ‘deserve an Oscar’

As for Dewani himself, Newling said he always questioned how powerful the State’s evidence was against the businessman.

The Dewanis had a rocky relationship, and he kept secrets about his sexuality a secret from Anni.

“But all this, I thought, was irrelevant to the key issue of ‘did Dewani murder his wife’”, said Newling, who was the first to interview Dewani two days after Anni’s death.

If he did, then Newling said ”he surely deserves an Oscar” for playing the part of the grieving widower just two days after Anni’s death.

That said, Traverso stopped short of declaring Dewani’s innocence, said The Telegraph.
Traverso ruled that she could not allow the case to continue “in the hope” that Dewani would implicate himself while giving evidence.

She told Anni’s family: “Regrettably there are many unanswered questions about what happened that fateful night”.

Dewani’s friends and neighbours back in Bristol may have told The Times that he will be welcomed back into the community.

But as The Daily Mail points out, Dewani now faces further scrutiny as Anni’s family plot legal action over his sordid double life.

The tabloid added: “The one thing he has craved all his life - respectability - will prove elusive now”.

Read more on:    anni hindocha  |  oscar pistorius  |  shrien dewani  |  cape town  |  crime  |  dewani trial  |  media

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