Dewani murder suspect refused bail

2011-02-25 12:57

One of the two remaining suspects in the murder of honeymooning tourist Anni Dewani was today refused bail when he appeared in the Wynberg Regional Court.

Magistrate Gavin du Plessis said Mziwamadoda Qwabe (25) had failed to convince the court that there were exceptional circumstances that rendered his release on bail in the interests of justice.

He said the circumstances presented by defence attorney Thabo Nogemane were normal, and not exceptional in the sense required by the Criminal Procedure Act.

Once the bail application was finalised, Qwabe appeared in another regional court, with co-accused Xolile Mnguni, where Magistrate Jackie Redelinghuys ordered that both remain in custody until they appear together again on June?1.

At the second hearing, the Western Cape Director for Public Prosecutions himself, senior counsel Rodney de Kock, said a request had been filed with the British authorities for the extradition of the dead woman’s widower, Shrien Dewani, to South Africa.

The husband would be charged together with Qwabe and co-accused Xolile Mngini.

De Kock said the husband had been arrested for the murder, but released on bail, and an application for the review of Dewani’s release was scheduled in London for March 15.

The extradition hearing itself was scheduled for May 3 to May 5, he said.

Dewani is currently recovering from an alleged overdose of tablets.

He said the South African investigation had largely been finalised, and evidence obtained in the UK had already been handed to the South African authorities.

This and a forensic report would be available at the next hearing on June 1.

The defence attorneys Vusi Tshabalala and Nogemane said they had so far co-operated closely with the prosecution team, De Kock and Adrian Mopp, and they had no objection to the postponement to June 1.

However, if at the next appearance the prosecution needed more time to finalise the investigation, they would give notice of their intention to have the case removed from the court roll.

Technically, the removal of the case from the roll would result in the withdrawal of the charges.

Redelinghuys said an investigation normally took six to seven months to finalise, when the case would be transferred from the Regional Court to the High Court for trial.

He said the men were arrested in November last year, and the postponement to June 1 was in line with the six-month period.

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