Dewani considered returning to SA

2013-07-01 22:23
(Dominic Lipinski, AP)

(Dominic Lipinski, AP)

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Dewani's depression improving

2013-07-02 07:38

Honeymoon murder accused Shrien Dewani's mental health has improved and he has talked about returning to South Africa to fight a murder charge, a London court has heard. Watch. WATCH

London - Honeymoon murder accused Shrien Dewani has considered returning to South Africa to fight a murder charged as his mental health improves, a London court heard on Monday.

The British Press Association reported that the businessman was being treated for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression following the murder of his 28-year-old wife Anni, who was shot while visiting Gugulethu, Cape Town, in November 2010.

He is accused of orchestrating the killing, but has denied the charge, and faces extradition to South Africa to stand trial for Anni's murder.

The South African authorities have offered reassurances that he will be given proper medical treatment if he is made to return.

Opening the case for the government at Westminster Magistrates' Court on Monday, Hugo Keith QC said Dewani's mental health had markedly improved.

The 33-year-old, who was excused from attending the hearing, is being treated at a mental hospital near Bristol, but Keith said it would not be "oppressive" to extradite him.

"We suggest that there has been significant and sustained improvement [in his depression], largely as a result of the administration of drugs, but also due to the grounding techniques and coping therapies, which he has acquired during his time at Fromeside and more recently at Blaise View since his transfer to Blaise View in January this year," he said.

Positive observations

Dewani's depression was now moderate, not severe, and in April his PTSD was found to be "considerably less" and was now moderate or severe, rather than severe.

The court heard that Dewani still had a substantial inability to concentrate and poor memory, but he no longer made active references to suicide.

"There are more positive observations about how he wishes to return to fight the case against him," Keith said.

The South African government had offered reassurances that he would be admitted to a mental hospital if he was found to be ill.

If held in jail, he would be kept in a single cell, which would reduce the chance of him being attacked.

Dewani was not currently fit to plead, but Keith said this should not stop the extradition process because his condition would improve.

"He will recover in time, there is no question that he won't recover," he said.

Anni’s family in court

Anni's father Vinod Hindocha, her sister Ami Denborg and brother Anish Hindocha were in court on Monday, watching from the public gallery with other relatives as the five-day extradition hearing began.

Dewani's father Prakash and brother Preyen were also at the court.

Dewani's lawyers have previously claimed he would be a high suicide risk if extradited, and that his human rights could be violated because of the risk of being violently attacked and sexually assaulted in a South African prison, and potentially contracting HIV.

Dewani was ordered to return to the country in 2011, but this was successfully appealed against, and judges ordered that Chief Magistrate Howard Riddle look at the case again.

The hearing was adjourned until Tuesday.

Read more on:    anni hindocha  |  shrien dewani  |  vinod hindocha  |  cape town  |  honeymoon hijacking

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