Dewani mental health 'has improved': Lawyer

By Drum Digital
11 April 2013

The mental health of British businessman Shrien Dewani, who is wanted in South Africa in connection with the honeymoon murder of his wife Anni, has significantly improved, a court heard on Thursday.

The United Kingdom-based Press Association reported that this had been conveyed to the Westminster Magistrate's Court in London.

Dewani, 33, is being treated at a hospital in Bristol for depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Dewani's 28-year-old wife Anni was shot when a taxi in which she and her husband were travelling was hijacked in Gugulethu, Cape Town, in November 2010.

On Thursday, prosecutor Ben Watson told the court: "He has improved, and improved significantly."

However, he said the businessman remained "moderately depressed" and was suffering from PTSD in the moderate range.

Doctors had reported that Dewani had "neither plans nor thoughts to kill himself", but that spontaneous self-harm always remained a risk.

Defence lawyer Julian Knowles QC told the court: "There has indeed been an improvement, but just to underline, Mr Dewani is still in the moderate range for both depression and PTSD."

A further hearing was planned in the same court on May 15, and extradition proceedings were expected to resume in July.

Dewani was excused from attending Thursday's hearing because of the risk to his mental health.

Chief magistrate Howard Riddle said although Dewani had improved it was felt that "the stress of coming to court today might set back that process".

He said Dewani would be "most welcome" to attend the next hearing, but would be excused from doing so if his doctors felt he was unfit to do so.

-by Sapa

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