Group looks to join Dewani trial

By admin
04 December 2014

A constitutional rights group wants to join British businessman Shrien Dewani's trial as a friend of the court, it said on Wednesday.

The Society for the Protection of our Constitution's Azad Kadri said they had forwarded letters to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).

Western Cape director of public prosecutions Rodney de Kock and his deputy, Adrian Mopp, had apparently agreed to respond to the society, which has around 200 members, by the end of Wednesday.

Mopp is the prosecutor in Dewani's trial in the Western Cape High Court.

The court is expected to rule on Monday whether Dewani should be discharged of the killing of his wife Anni in 2010.

"We are asking the NPA to postpone the matter for three months so we can get the papers, we can get the files and we can formulate the case," Kadri said.

He said civil society had the constitutional right to ensure justice was seen to be done. It was thus also asking for the recusal of the trial judge, Western Cape High Court deputy president Jeanette Traverso.

Kadri acknowledged she was one of the country's top legal minds but said, with respect, that her conduct in the trial had not been appropriate.

He apparently took issue with her remarks towards the prosecutor and her threat to reveal in open court what they had discussed in her chambers.

"As a civil servant she works for us. She has got to ensure our rights are maintained."

The call for her recusal joins that of the Facebook group "Justice4Anni", which was expected to hand over a petition with 2401 signatures to Justice Minister Michael Masutha on Thursday.

The petition called on Masutha to dismiss Traverso, investigate her "biased" conduct during the trial, and order a re-trial with a new judge.

Dewani is on trial in the Western Cape High Court for allegedly plotting with shuttle bus driver Zola Tongo and others to kill Anni while they were on honeymoon in Cape Town in November 2010.

He has pleaded not guilty to charges including kidnapping, murder, and defeating the ends of justice.

He claims the couple was hijacked while Tongo drove them through Gugulethu in his minibus on Saturday, November 13, 2010. He was released unharmed and Anni was driven away. She was found shot dead in the abandoned minibus in Khayelitsha the next morning.

The State alleges he conspired with others to stage the hijacking, for which he paid R15,000. Dewani maintains Tongo helped him organise a surprise helicopter trip for Anni for R15,000.

On Wednesday, her brother Anish Hindocha appealed to Dewani to give the court the full story of what happened the night she was killed.

He told reporters in Cape Town he expected Dewani's trial to continue on Monday and for his discharge application to be dismissed.

He said Dewani's legal team had repeated the "mantra" since the start of the trial in October that his client would tell the court certain things. Dewani had insisted all along that he wanted to clear his name, Hindocha said.

"It would be a terrible development in what has been a four-year wait if we and the people of South Africa are not afforded the full story."

Should the full facts of her murder not emerge, it would remain on the country's conscience forever.

"It will also mean a lifetime of torture for me and my family, especially my mom and dad."

Tongo is serving an 18-year jail term and Mziwamadoda Qwabe a 25-year jail term. Xolile Mngeni was serving life in jail for firing the shot that killed Anni, but died in prison from a brain tumour on October 18.

Hotel receptionist Monde Mbolombo was granted immunity from prosecution on two charges during Mngeni's trial. He was however warned he faced possible prosecution on various charges if he did not testify truthfully during Dewani's trial.

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