Dewani extradition would be unjust - judges

2012-03-30 14:24

London - British High Court judges said it would be "unjust and oppressive" to order the extradition Shrien Dewani, but added it is in the interests of justice that he be extradited to face trial in South Africa "as soon as he is fit".

The High Court temporarily halted the extradition of Dewani to South Africa on mental health grounds, where he is wanted for the murder of his wife on their honeymoon.

The ruling was made after Dewani's lawyers said he was suffering from severe post-traumatic stress disorder and severe depression. They argued the 32-year-old's life could be at risk if he were extradited.

High Court judges John Thomas and Duncan Ouseley said it would be "unjust and oppressive" to order the removal of Dewani, who is currently being treated in a mental health hospital in his hometown of Bristol, western England.

Interests of justice

However, they said it was in the interests of justice that he be extradited to face trial in South Africa "as soon as he is fit".

Dewani's family welcomed the decision to delay his extradition, saying in a statement: "Shrien is innocent and is determined to return to South Africa to clear his name and seek justice for his wife Anni."

The victim's sister Ami Denborg told reporters outside court that her family "just want him to get better now so he can finally return to South Africa and tell us what happened. We just want to know the truth".

Dewani has strongly denied arranging the contract killing of his 28-year-old Swedish wife, who was shot in an apparent hijacking as the couple drove through a township in Cape Town while on their honeymoon in November 2010.

Risk of sexual attack

But their taxi driver, Zola Tongo, who was jailed for 18 years for his part in the crime, claimed in a plea bargain with prosecutors that the businessman ordered the hijacking and paid for a hit on his wife.

Dewani was arrested in Britain on 7 December 2010 following an extradition request from South Africa, which accuses him of murder, kidnapping, robbery with aggravated circumstances and obstructing the administration of justice.

A British judge approved his extradition in August, and Home Secretary Theresa May gave the green light the following month, but his lawyers appealed.

In their ruling on Friday, the judges rejected the defence team's argument that he should not be sent to a South African jail because of the risk of sexual attack by other inmates.

And while accepting that Dewani suffered from two severe mental illnesses, they said there was a good chance he would recover within a reasonable time.

Lesser risk of suicide

But they balanced this with the fact that he was unfit to attend the hearing, the risk of a deterioration in his condition, the increased prospect that he would get better faster in Britain, as well as the lesser risk of suicide.

Added to the lack of certainty about what would happen to Dewani if he was sent to South Africa in his current condition, Thomas said: "We consider that on the evidence... it would be unjust and oppressive to order his extradition."

The judge added: "His mental illness apart, it is plainly in the interests of justice that the appellant be tried in South Africa as soon as he is fit to be tried."

Successive court hearings have heard how Dewani began suffering mental health problems after the killing of his wife, and how his condition deteriorated sharply following his arrest.

He took an overdose in February 2011, although he denied trying to kill himself, and was admitted to a health clinic. But by April his condition had worsened further and he was sectioned under the Mental Health Act.

His lawyers told a hearing last December that Dewani was so ill that he was incapable of giving instructions to his lawyers or follow trial proceedings.

  • philani.goba - 2012-03-30 14:28

    The Jack Selebis of that country!!

  • customdesign - 2012-03-30 14:33

    What an insult from the UK to our legal and phsychiatric institutions.

  • gaeleen - 2012-03-30 14:46

    Something wrong with his treatment???? No progress re his condition!!! Maybe South AFrica has the answer to all his problems#########

  • radlegend - 2012-03-30 14:49

    I agree with the judge. Unjust and oppressive. Let him stay in England. *innocent until proven guilty*

      Kala - 2012-03-30 14:54

      True radlegend but then he should be here to clear his name and tell the courts what actually happened.

      Jean - 2012-03-30 14:56

      Well if he doesnt stand trail he can never be proven innocent or guilty.

      Vic - 2012-03-30 15:12

      Innocent, until proved guilty in some cases, but surely in this case you have blinkers on. Get real!

  • Martin - 2012-03-30 14:54

    I see that feigning illness of any sort , either before or after conviction, is very contagious when it comes to South African justice. Who'se next I wonder?

      jowza1 - 2012-03-30 15:02

      erm martin,this happened in the uk

  • Rodney - 2012-03-30 14:58

    What an utter load of BS period! The UK government are harbouring and pampering this weak speciman of the human race just to meet their own selfish ends and allowing this tragidy to drag on and on and on and to further, frustrate the SA legal team! Throw the book at the judges I say! What a bunch of twats!

      bluzulu - 2012-03-30 17:39

      Lilly Livered soft centered Liberal UK Judiciary.

  • Andrew - 2012-03-30 15:00

    It is clear he has got Shaikitis.

  • Sharon - 2012-03-30 15:02

    And the Oscar goes to........

  • Promise Dube - 2012-03-30 15:12

    Wow,so if u gt money u cn get away wt any sort of crime e.g Schabir,Selebi.This z so unfair to da victim&family who hv to live knwng dt da killer of their lovely daughter z stl enjoying lyf out de.{IN}justice @ tyms sucks!

  • Msika - 2012-03-30 15:18

    I say bring him here...we hve dedicated staff at Weskoppies Psychiatric hospital, they will sort him out.

  • Mashudu - 2012-03-30 15:20

    this is total unfair to Anni's family. they deserve better than this nonsense.

  • Den - 2012-03-30 15:22

    but its ok to murder your wife?

  • Den - 2012-03-30 15:22

    this is a case of to much human rights...

  • Scouter - 2012-03-30 15:34

    Good People, please listen - most of us believe he is guilty and deserves his just reward. I certainly do, at least. I think the UK courts also think he is guilty and deserves his just reward too ....... However, they are using the so called medical condition of the accused to conceal their mistrust of South Africa's Judicial and penal systems. Truth is, SA has a very shoddy reputation around the world right now - other than that shared amongst our bedfellows nobody else wants to sleep with.

      jowza1 - 2012-03-30 15:44

      how do you know all this.can you share your info with us

      Scouter - 2012-03-30 16:21

      Jowza1 "Added to the lack of certainty about what would happen to Dewani if he was sent to South Africa in his current condition, Thomas said: "We consider that on the evidence... it would be unjust and oppressive to order his extradition." The judge added: "His mental illness apart, it is plainly in the interests of justice that the appellant be tried in South Africa as soon as he is fit to be tried." I tend to read and digest before commenting. In terms of my assertion about international confidence levels iro SA - my only advice is for you to monitor the performance of the Rand and the SA market in the the next few months.

      jowza1 - 2012-03-30 16:55

      Talking about markets,why is the euro loosing the euro zone is our main trading partner,the rand is influenced by what the euro does.

  • Louise-Roger - 2012-03-30 15:37

    Doesn't matter firstly he has to live with it for the rest of his life, what goes around comes around and he is hated in the UK and where ever he goes. I'm sure her father will pursue this. Someone will sort him out.

  • raymond.kok3 - 2012-03-30 15:50

    whimp ,i bet he will be way too ill to ever be able to attend court,

  • Vicky - 2012-03-30 15:53

    And Anni Dewani was ready and mentally fit to be murdered and that was just?? Puhleeeze. Seems the laws the world over are written to protect the criminals first. Nevermind the victims, they are dead already, so what does it matter!!!!!!!!

  • J.A.Rademan - 2012-03-30 16:12

    And everybody thought that is only our judiciary that is crap.

  • patricia.mapfumo - 2012-03-30 16:14

    i think thats a good idea for him to come and have his justice where he committed his crime remember we also had a young girl who was given a death sentense and our government tried but they refused to release him and so Dewani must face his sentence in South Africa.

  • Maria - 2012-03-30 16:26

    Watch him get away with murder ........

  • Scouter - 2012-03-30 16:29

    How does everyone feel about the US soldier that was removed from Afghanistan after having murderd so many innocent civilians on a mental flip? Just curious - I get the impression that the US doesn't trust the Afghan judiciary any more than the UK trusts ours.

      jowza1 - 2012-03-30 17:00

      scouter.the american soldier will be tried by a military court in the has nothing to do with the state of the afgan judicial system.i think,you are over reading situations

      Scouter - 2012-03-30 21:39

      Not really ..... they knew that mob justice was about to descend on the situation. Military Courts Martial are very often held in the field of operation during times of conflict.

  • Leendert - 2012-03-30 16:32

    So where exactly is he? In an institution at least or just sitting at home, happily faking live?

  • bluzulu - 2012-03-30 17:37

    Lilly Livered soft centered Liberal UK Judiciary.

  • John - 2012-03-30 17:43

    Another Shabir!

  • Mable - 2012-03-30 20:49

    what is unjust is the fact that a young woman who believed she was loved was slaughtered like an animal, her life cut short by this sick human being if you can even call him that, and now her family won't get to see justice take place.Re: Jacky Selebi....

  • sandy.langenstrass - 2012-03-31 07:33

    He is not a man...he is cowardly...if he had nothing to do with the murder why is he suffering such high stress levels? most people this would be a sign of guilt.

  • Ashley - 2012-03-31 12:29

    The pathetic attempts by Max Clifford andthe BBC to make him look innocent and cast doubt the other night were a disgrace. Every arguement they put forward was "ifs". Then skipping over the facts. He and the people assessing him should be under the microscope.

  • Kenneth - 2012-03-31 12:51

    Time to go to jail and stop faking a mental illness.

  • ASRPringle - 2012-04-05 16:57

    I wonder whether anyone has considered the mental anguish that his wife went through as he fed her to the mongrels who subsequently murdered her? Of course he is suffering, he is a bloody nutcase! he deserves whatever he gets (including the unlikely possibility of an innocent verdict) but he needs to be tried first like any other suspected criminal and not allowed to twist the legal system into knots with pathetic reasons as to why he cant stand trial.

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