Look at Dewani's 'conspiratorial' behaviour: state

By admin
25 November 2014

The Western Cape High Court was asked on Tuesday to consider the "conspiratorial" behaviour of British businessman Shrien Dewani during an application to discharge him of killing his wife.

Prosecutor Adrian Mopp argued that Dewani's plea explanation had not been tested and could therefore not be admitted as evidence.

Rather, the court should look at the way in which Dewani allegedly attempted to "cover his tracks" after the death of his wife Anni in November 2010.

He referred to a restaurant booking that Dewani made the night she was killed, for a place between Stellenbosch and Somerset West in Cape Town.

'That is a big quantum leap to make, Mr Mopp'

Mopp said the booking would provide a plausible explanation for why he was so far from central Cape Town.

"That is a big quantum leap to make, Mr Mopp," Deputy Judge President Jeanette Traverso said.

Mopp was adamant that the booking provided both Dewani and his shuttle taxi driver Zola Tongo with a plausible explanation.

He added that Dewani had told police it was his wife's idea to see a township like Gugulethu by night so that the focus would be taken off Tongo.

Tongo testified that he set up a fake hijacking of the couple in Gugulethu after Dewani approached him with a request for a hitman.

"...We are being asked to believe that it was completely fortuitous that two people [the hitmen] were waiting in Gugulethu and, lo and behold, that the deceased wants to go into the township," Mopp said.

He added that it was strange that Dewani never told his family about certain contact with Tongo that weekend.

Dewani's behaviour around Tongo at his hotel after the killing also seemed conspiratorial because he looked up at surveillance cameras and asked a cleaner to leave so they could talk.

Dewani is on trial for allegedly plotting with Tongo and others to kill his wife Anni while they were on honeymoon on 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.

He maintains that Tongo helped him organise a surprise helicopter trip for Anni for R15,000.

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.

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

The State conceded during argument on Tuesday that Tongo, Qwabe, and Mbolombo were not the best of witnesses.

However, Tongo as the crucial witness, never strayed from the crux of his evidence despite vigorous cross-examination, which was the conspiracy agreement between himself, Dewani, and the others.

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