Dewani: Tongo a completely unreliable witness – defence

2014-11-24 13:45

The only person that Shrien Dewani spoke to directly about an alleged plan to kill his wife had revealed himself as a poor witness, the Western Cape High Court heard during a discharge application today.

Francois van Zyl, for Dewani, was arguing that shuttle taxi driver Zola Tongo was so poor on the stand that his client should be discharged of all criminal charges.

“Mr Tongo proved himself to be a completely unreliable witness,” he said.

“Tongo’s evidence was of such poor quality that it cannot be relied upon ... There is no credible evidence on record upon which the court acting here may convict the accused.”

With reference to the Glen Agliotti case, the defence’s legal position was that an accused was entitled to be discharged if there was no possibility of conviction other than if he entered the witness box and incriminated himself.

It believed that without Tongo as the crucial witness, there was no case.

While there may have been a conspiracy to kill Anni Dewani as a tourist, the defence felt there was no credible evidence to show their client was included.

Dewani’s defence team was applying to Deputy Judge Jeanette Traverso to discharge Dewani in terms of section 174 of the Criminal Procedure Act.

The defence and the state filed heads of argument last week.

Section 174 of the Criminal Procedure Act provides that if at the close of the prosecution’s case the court believes there is no evidence that the accused committed the offence, it may return a verdict of not guilty.

The state closed its case a week ago.

Dewani is on trial for allegedly plotting with Tongo and others to kill his wife 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 November 13 2010.

He was released unharmed and Anni was found shot dead in the abandoned minibus in Khayelitsha the next morning.

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