Dewani ‘too ill’ for London hearing

2011-01-20 10:53

The hearing to have Shrien Dewani extradited to South Africa to go on trial for the death of his wife Anni will go ahead in London without him today, because he is not well enough to attend, the Press Association in the UK reported.

According to the PA, Dewani’s spokesperson, publicist Max Clifford, said Dewani did not need to attend court because it is a 20 minute formality to fix a date for a future hearing.

Clifford said he did not think anyone from Mr Dewani’s family would attend the hearing either.

The matter was set down for the City of Westminster Magistrate’s Court for today.

South Africa’s justice authorities are hoping to bring him back to South Africa to stand trial for his alleged part in the murder of his new wife Anni, who was 28, in November.

Shuttle bus driver Zola Tongo was sentenced to 18 years in prison last year in a plea agreement in which he implicated Dewani in her murder.

According to his statement he was paid R16 000 by Dewani to stage a hijacking.

She was last seen alive after the couple made a spur of the moment decision to visit a restaurant in Gugulethu outside Cape Town.

At the time, Dewani said that they had been hijacked and he had been pushed out of the vehicle. Anni’s body was later found in the car in nearby Khayelitsha.

Two other people – Xolile Mnguni and Mziwamadoda Qwabe – are in custody in South Africa for their alleged roles in the murder.

Dewani is to be represented by Taswell Papier, who once represented Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson on sexual assault allegations made while he was in Cape Town.

According to his CV on the website of his lawfirm he was voted Lawyer of the Year in 2006.

He lists his specialities as commercial, tax and fisheries law.

The Harvard and University of the Western Cape attorney had also built a reputation for pro-bono work.

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