Dewani accused not fit for trial - defence

2012-04-20 14:23

Cape Town - Xolile Mngeni, accused of murdering honeymooner Anni Dewani, is not psychologically fit to stand trial because of a brain tumour, the Western Cape High Court heard on Friday.

Defence counsel Matthews Dayimani requested that Mngeni be referred for observation in terms of the Criminal Procedure Act to see whether he was able to understand court proceedings.

He told Judge Robert Henney that an oncologist had warned against Mngeni appearing in court at all.

"His condition, my lord, is that his immune system is very low and that he should not be out and about, or out of hospital, for fear of infection."


Mngeni also apparently suffered from attacks in which he would get headaches, double vision, and extreme exhaustion.

Henney asked if there was any report to this effect.

Dayimani replied that it was not only difficult to arrange someone to see his client in prison but also very expensive to commission a report from a specialist.

"I'm sitting with a client who is incarcerated. These updated reports, in my view, are costly."

Henney referred to the last medical report entered into the court file detailing Mngeni's health.

Substantive application

He read the last paragraph out, which stated that although the accused suffered from headaches and trembling, he was completely orientated, able to understand proceedings, and fit to attend court.

"You have to bring a substantive application. You must base it on something," Henney told the defence.

"That is what I intend to do," Dayimani replied.

Prosecutor Shareen Riley said the State was informed of the referral request but intended to oppose the application.

"Should he provide the State with a more updated report... we'll reconsider our application."

Dayimani was ordered to approach Judge President John Hlophe with the request.

He would report back to Henney on May 11 when the pre-trial conference was set to resume.

Can’t afford advocate

Both Mngeni and his co-accused Mziwamadoda Qwabe stood quietly before the judge, although a few minutes into proceedings Mngeni was told to sit as he was trembling.

The two face charges of kidnapping, robbery with aggravating circumstances, murder, and two counts relating to the illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition.

The matter was postponed to next month as Qwabe could no longer afford his advocate Thabo Nogemane, and would need time to apply for Legal Aid.

Henney said it was only fair that the new legal representative be given time to get the docket, all the statements, and instructions from his clients.

The trial was set down for July 30.

Anni, 28, was shot dead in an apparent hijacking while she and her husband were on honeymoon in Cape Town in November 2010.

South Africa is trying to extradite Anni's husband, businessman Shrien Dewani, from the United Kingdom to stand trial for her murder.

An order for his extradition was signed by the UK secretary of state in September, but Britain's High Court temporarily halted the extradition on mental health grounds, saying it would be "unjust and oppressive".

He would be extradited to South Africa as soon as he was fit.

Dewani is being treated in a mental health hospital in his hometown of Bristol, western England.

  • CharlesDumbwin - 2012-04-20 14:30

    Hey look! Someone else who's suddenly developed a case of ShaikeySelebi Syndrome

  • Barefoot - 2012-04-20 14:31

    lol interesting looks like everyone involved in this case will claim some sort of mental problem - 2012-04-20 15:05

      haha,now isn't that funny.

  • zipho500 - 2012-04-20 14:33

    He learned from the best!!!

  • Samantha - 2012-04-20 14:36

    if he wants to pretend he is mentally unstable, then put him in the worst mental hospital u can find- I am sure after a few shock therapy sessions he might be suddenly cured-

  • Shirley - 2012-04-20 14:38

    He shouldnt be out and about??? His victim is DEAD!!!! Infection my foot! Pity we dont have the death penalty-at least then he wouldnt have to "suffer"!!!

  • E=MC2 - 2012-04-20 14:38

    i loooove the way medical issues are the loop hole for criminals now days!

  • Soon - 2012-04-20 14:40

    He was 100% fit when he hijack and murder

  • Carry - 2012-04-20 14:43


      Shirley - 2012-04-20 14:45

      Not his wife!

  • Gavin - 2012-04-20 14:44

    This irritates me to no end! So it's ok to murder someone, so as long as the murderer is unwell he gets to stay out of court. "unjust and oppressive" Britain's High Court states... like the murder of Anni was acceptable?? Pathetic!

  • Tony - 2012-04-20 14:45

    I don't wanna pay tolls or taxes 'cos I'm crazee!!

      Balanganani - 2012-04-20 15:52

      Lol! U are crying to deaf ears, they wont listen to such important plea

  • Gavin - 2012-04-20 14:46

    This irritates me to no end! So it's ok to murder someone, and as long as the murderer is unwell he gets to stay out of court and being tried for a capital offence. "unjust and oppressive" Britain's High Court states... like the murder of Anni was acceptable?? Pathetic!

  • Steven - 2012-04-20 14:57

    It's about time someone in the judiciary stood up and said, :Right, that's enough, people! If you can't do the time, don't commit the crime!"....and then put a few of them away forever to prove the point. But will they? Not bloody likely...

  • Arthur - 2012-04-20 15:26

    I say string the lot of them up.

  • Dee - 2012-04-20 15:28

    Isn't there some irony here where we post baying-for-blood opinions of 'Kill, Kill, Kill'? I wonder if Dewani's hired killers are any worse than the majority of many 'security forces' in the world (e.g. remember Abu Ghraib and recent US Afghan scandals)... and do we really want a society that is totally callous about a prisoner with a brain tumour? I'm no 'bleeding heart liberal' - but imagining walking in the shoes of someone easily tempted by a few R100 to kill - wonder if South Africa should really seriously consider the BIG (Basic Income Grant) for every registered voter. It sure would make it easier for me to then condemn outright these 'desperado's'.

      louis.langenhoven - 2012-04-20 16:15


  • catgirl1971 - 2012-04-20 15:30

    Now Qwabe just has to develop a 'mental' condition and it's all nicely sewn up: all 3 get off scot-free. Pity the taxi-driver wasn't so 'clever' cos he's actually doing jail time!

  • Rory - 2012-04-20 15:33

    Come to SA where our criminals are SICK bra!!!!

  • Biggs - 2012-04-20 15:44

    His defence is absolutely right, he is not fit to stand trial but he is only fit for killing

  • Eva - 2012-04-20 15:47

    Oh come on! You commit an horrendous crime and then you can't stand trail because you have a f-ing headache!! Same for that Dewani sod!

  • kswanepoel - 2012-04-20 15:48

    Why are the South African Courts dragging their feet to get Dewani to stand trial? Dewani should be standing trial - it's absolute nonsense that this man is still in the UK!

  • Nicholas - 2012-04-20 16:09

    Amazing how fit and healthy everyone was when the murder took place. Now that its time for appearing in court we have Post Traumatic Stress, Psychological problems, brain tumors, you name it.

  • louis.langenhoven - 2012-04-20 16:13

    did the state present a medical and psychological report regarding Anni's readiness to be murdered? just hang the scum and get it over with already

      atholl.hay - 2012-04-21 12:31

      Let's have trials via News24: if most readers believe someone is guilty, then we hang them. Finished and klaar. It will save time and money.

  • Christopher - 2012-04-20 16:19

    This man(Dewani)he is dodging the South African court.

  • MoAfrika - 2012-04-20 16:21

    Anni's ghost is driving them nuts now lol

  • Joseph - 2012-04-20 17:12

    Peeps, please do some back reading on the tumor before you say it's an excuse. The guy couldn't show up at court once because he had just had brain surgery, and the prosecution wasn't even aware of it. We should really be hoping he pulls through so that his evidence can be utilised to convict the dusch behind this all (when he gets here).

  • Atholl - 2012-04-20 20:20

    It's simple :: The Judge referred to .... ..the last medical report entered into the court file detailing Mngeni's health. .. which stated that ...he was completely orientated, able to understand proceedings, and fit to attend court Soooo .. the lawyer will simply get another report, and another until he finds one that suits his allegation. If there was no report before the Judge (on the day) ... and a new report surfaces [[ AFTER ]] this appearance ... .. then we have hit the jackpot ... the missing treasure A doctor-lawyer who has specialized and expert training ... look at a person, ..diagnose a medical condition And connect this condition to a legal definition. This is a rare species - Doctor-Lawyer-scientist ..

  • Sonja - 2012-04-21 13:47

    Dewani - usinf the full extent of the SA law ... in the UK. Shaikitus Selebi syndrome!

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