Dewani hearing date set

2011-02-08 12:51

Three days have been set down in May for a United Kingdom (UK) court to hear the application to have Shrien Dewani extradited from the UK to South Africa, to stand trial for the alleged murder of his wife Anni, a UK court ruled today.

“The case was)postponed to March for a review in order to allow and ensure that the State and the defence are able to submit or file their papers,” justice department spokesperson Tlali Tlali said.

“A further (three) days has been set aside in May for a hearing on substantive aspects of the extradition.”

Dewani was not in court, and his representatives had informed the court of this, due to a stress-related condition he has been diagnosed with.

Anni was shot dead in Khayelitsha, a township of Cape Town, in the early hours of Sunday of November 13, while on honeymoon.

A shuttle bus driver, Zola Tongo, who had driven them to dinner on the Saturday evening, was serving an 18-year prison sentence after a plea deal was agreed to in the Cape Town High Court.

In that deal, which was not subjected to cross-examination in court, Tongo said he had arranged for people to kill Anni, at the request of her husband Shrien, for R15 000.

The Mailonline in the UK quoted an unnamed source close to the investigation as saying that co-accused Mziwamadoda Qwabe claimed there was no murder plot.

“There obviously was a plan to hijack and rob the couple but that was it,” the source was quoted as saying.

Reporters outside the Belmarsh Magistrates Court in London tweeted that it was getting busy because WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was also due to make an appearance in connection with his possible extradition to Sweden, where he may face a sexual assault charge.

The BBC reported that the extradition hearing would begin on May 3, and the other hearing on March 23.

The court heard that lawyers for Shrien would question whether he would receive a fair trial if extradited to South Africa, according to the BBC report.

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