Dewani's escort testimony cut short

By admin
27 October 2014

A gay male escort whose services were procured by British businessman Shrien Dewani testified for just a few minutes in the Western Cape High Court on Monday.

Leipold Leisser (43) was called as the State's 11th witness to testify on his three meetings with Dewani in 2009 and 2010.

'He was the first ever client I allowed to stay at my home'

Leisser, neat in a charcoal suit and red tie, sat in the witness stand with a German translator next to him.

Dewani stared at him from the dock and then lowered his head.

Leisser said he initially had a private profile on gay fetish website Recon and then created a commercial website for himself under the name "Gay Master One" in 2009.

He said he offered services such as role play, S&M, and fetishes.

Prosecutor Adrian Mopp said it was not in dispute that Dewani paid for his services on September 18, 2009, February 4, 2010, and 17 April 2010, and that the two had e-mail communication.

At the first and second meeting, Dewani went to Leisser's home and slept over.

"It was unusual and in fact, he was the first ever client I allowed to stay at my home. He asked me to sleep over," Leisser said.

Pieter Botha, for Dewani, interrupted and asked what the relevance of the evidence was.

Deputy Judge President Jeanette Traverso also asked what the relevance was, having earlier refused evidence related to Dewani's sexuality, ruling it was irrelevant.

Mopp said he was trying to show the court the context of Dewani's relationship with his wife Anni.

Dewani is accused of Anni's murder 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 November 13, 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.

Xolile Mngeni was convicted in 2012 of firing the fatal shot from the front passenger seat of the hijacked vehicle.

He died from a brain tumour on October 18.

Traverso said it was common cause that Dewani spent nights with Leisser and that he slept with other men.

She said that when it came to evidence "of this nature" she always thought twice before admitting it.

Mopp said the context was that Dewani disclosed to Leisser that he was about to be engaged and could not find a way out without being disowned by his family.

Traverso said Dewani had previously broken off another engagement and asked Mopp to argue why she should allow the evidence.

Mopp said the court would eventually be confronted with the question of why Dewani would commit such a crime and that this evidence would assist it.

Traverso said both the state and defence should provide her with written arguments on why the evidence should or should not be admitted.

In the meantime, Leisser was asked to stand down.

The State was expected to call another witness after an adjournment.

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