Dewani too ill to be extradited - lawyer

2011-12-13 22:44

London - The health, and the life, of British businessman Shrien Dewani will be at risk if he is extradited to South Africa to face allegations of masterminding the murder of his bride during their honeymoon, the London High Court was told on Tuesday.

The Press Association reports that care home owner Dewani, from Bristol, who denies any wrongdoing, is accused of arranging the contract killing of his wife Anni in Cape Town in November last year.

Britain's Home Secretary Theresa May signed an order for his extradition after District Judge Howard Riddle ruled at Belmarsh Magistrate's Court in south-east London in August that Dewani, 31, should be sent back to South Africa to stand trial.

On Tuesday, Clare Montgomery QC, appearing for Dewani, asked two judges to block the extradition order on the grounds that his mental health had deteriorated to the point where he was "too ill to be extradited" and was a suicide risk.

As family members looked on, Montgomery also argued he was at serious risk of violence if kept in custody in South Africa, including sexual violence, at the hands of other prisoners.

Anni Dewani, 28, from Sweden, was shot when a taxi the couple were travelling in was hijacked in Gugulethu.

She was found dead in the back of the abandoned vehicle with a bullet wound to her neck after taxi driver Zola Tongo drove the newlyweds to the township.

He and Shrien Dewani were ejected by the hijackers before Anni Dewani was driven away and shot.

Plea agreement

Tongo, who has admitted his part in the crime, claimed in a plea agreement with prosecutors that Shrien Dewani ordered the hijacking and paid for a hit on his wife.

Shrien Dewani, who has been diagnosed with severe post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and severe depression, was not at Tuesday's hearing.

Montgomery argued he was so ill that he would be incapable of giving instructions to his lawyers or following trial proceedings, and extradition should be delayed until he had recovered.

The QC told Sir John Thomas, president of the Queen's Bench Division and Mr Justice Ouseley, that the businessman had always wished for a fair trial.

"However that is, at the moment, on the advice we have been given by those who are treating him, not possible."

His illnesses had begun to develop shortly after the murder of his wife and before he was accused of her murder.

In April this year he was sectioned under the 1983 Mental Health Act to a psychiatric unit for his own protection, and last month was re-sectioned for a further six months following a deterioration in his condition.

All the doctors who had examined him, including the expert instructed by the South African government, agreed that he was suffering from PTSD and depression, said Montgomery.

Limited assurances

In a hearing expected to last two days, she asked the High Court to discharge the extradition order, or adjourn its implementation.

She argued that District Judge Riddle had fallen into error when he accepted South African assurances that Shrien Dewani's life and health would not be endangered if he was sent back to South Africa.

She argued the limited assurances that were given were "incapable of fulfilment".

Montgomery told the court Judge Riddle should have ordered Dewani's discharge under section 91 of the Extradition Act 2003 on the grounds that sending him back would "manifestly endanger his health or risk his life".

Tuesday's application is being opposed by the South African government.

Written statements before the court from Shrien Dewani's legal team say that his illnesses cannot be treated with anti-depressant medication because he suffers from a life-threatening drug reaction.

His recovery is likely to be "slow and unpredictable".

Suicide risk

They state he is being visually checked every 15-20 minutes at his psychiatric unit because he is a high suicide risk.

Montgomery told the judges that the risk would increase "to an unacceptable level" if he was extradited.

The suicide management capacity of the South African prison system was "inadequate", as had been admitted by the prisons inspector, she contended.

Experts also agreed that there was no evidence that the psychiatric hospital available to care for him could adequately treat his complex illnesses.

Extradition would be incompatible with articles 2 and 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which protect the right to life and prohibit inhuman and degrading treatment.

Montgomery said "explicit public hostility" towards him had been fanned by the South African police and prosecutors, and the authorities would not be able to provide sufficient protection.

Judge Riddle had wrongly relied on limited South African undertakings to protect his health, and no effective undertakings had been given to protect him from sexual violence or other violence at the hands of prisoners.

"It will not be consistent with humanitarian principle to send someone for extradition who is not fit to stand trial," Montgomery told the judges.

"Were Mr Dewani to be extradited today, according to English standards, he would not be fit to stand his trial."


She added: "We do submit it will always be unjust to extradite somebody who is unfit - no matter how serious the charge."

Hugo Keith QC, appearing for the South African government, described Judge Riddle's decision to allow extradition as "unassailable".

As members of both families sat at the back of the court, Keith said Dewani's case was considered with great care over seven days and took into account an exceptional level of detail.

The evidence before the judge demonstrated that South Africa, since the end of apartheid, had consistently upheld the rule of law and individual rights.

It was now a well-established democracy with a vibrant and free press and there was no proper basis to challenge the decision to extradite, either by referring to conditions in South African prisons or Dewani's mental health.

Keith said medical evidence suggested Dewani's mental illness was not permanent, and his condition fluctuated.

There appeared to have been one period of significant improvement in his mental condition.

The improvement now appeared to have been short-lived, but it showed the level of risk was not so high as to make extradition "unconscionable" or a breach of human rights.

The hearing continues.

  • Warren - 2011-12-13 22:54

    Man, this guy learns quick!!!

      Breinlekkasie - 2011-12-14 06:13

      He has got exactly the right characteristics to make a good politician. Imagine pulling the same type of stunt when one happens to land in court for a speeding ticket. You could drag a case like that out for decades and eventually get of free.

      Squeegee - 2011-12-14 06:27

      Come on guys - the poor thing has the Shaiks. The Shabir syndrome is highly contagious among the criminal fraternity.

      Mike - 2011-12-14 07:24

      Is Shaik not his buddy. They look the same. haha

      amazinmic - 2011-12-14 07:38

      Yeah, when in Rome. If the locals can do it (Sheik and Selebi) then why can't he?

      jacques.c.smit - 2011-12-14 08:05

      The only thing in this case that matters should be what the doctor said, not the lawyer...lawyers seem to be making the rules these day, same with the Selebi case, he should jut go get medical attention, yes, IN PRISON

      Breinlekkasie - 2011-12-14 08:41

      Not only does he have PTSD but apparently he is delusional as well. Does he really think that he will not become an inmate's bitch in a UK prison? With a face like that he will be the flavor of the week in any prison anywhere in the world.

      Herman - 2011-12-14 09:40

      "too ill to be extradited" and was a suicide risk." WHO cares???? Send his ass to jail & let him rot the little sh@t! His murdered wife had NO CHOICE, how is it that he has so many rights??? Load of BULL!!

  • craigtjames - 2011-12-13 22:54

    What is this new fashion - too sick to face the music for wrongdoing? Shabir certainly set a trend - Julius, Selebe, Dewani???

      Barrie - 2011-12-14 03:54

      Just need one more for a 4-ball!

      craigtjames - 2011-12-14 04:11

      No, you already have them, Shaik, Malema, Selebe and Dewani.

      Barrie - 2011-12-14 04:57

      My mistake :-) - just that Julius really struck me more as a caddie.

      brian.heunis - 2011-12-14 06:24

      LOL @Barrie's caddie chirp!

      Sean - 2011-12-14 07:30

      This disease seems to be contagious - Foot and Mouth?

      Phillip - 2011-12-14 07:43

      yes, malema could be a good caddie, but then again, he only had woodwork at school, he will not be able to give advice on the useage of any of the 'irons' in his bag....

      JuditVictor - 2011-12-14 10:16

      Yip, and as far as I have read, Indians have very high IQ's so he is playing the justice systems like a fiddle. The long depressed face, everything have to give him 10 out of 10 for effort. The thing is the Brits are so gullible, they so very quickly feel so very sorry for everyone. I still cannot believe that their police stood by with the recent riots and allowed their miserable youth to burn down an entire building. Their liberalism is making them third world very quickly and Shrien Dewani sees through all of it. He is possibly one heartless SOB and a killer. I cannot believe that people in high places are falling more and more for this I feel Sick syndrome so let me go.

  • Butter - 2011-12-13 23:08

    the guilt is making him sick and mentally instable ,this swine should just die and save everyone the trouble especially for Annie's parents .

      Samantha - 2011-12-14 08:59

      Don't think the bastard has any guilt. Just gutted he got caught. If he'd got away with it, he'd be living it up without any guilt...

  • ReunionofIntelligentMinds - 2011-12-13 23:11

    Sooooooooo clever. 'his illnesses cannot be treated with anti-depressant medication because he suffers from a life-threatening drug reaction'. Even making sure he does not have to take medication because he knows there is nothing wrong with him AND looks like he will get away with it. If Shakespeare was alive he would write a drama with Dewani in mind. PERFECT actor. Deserves an Oscar.

      Susanna - 2011-12-13 23:53

      Someone should write a play on this contemporary Macbethian soap opera, complete with Bollywood dancing, celebratory Gin & Tonics and the Swiss Cheese. Table Mountain as backdrop... (minibuss taxis flying about the sky welcomed to parking bays by dung beetles in tuxedos...)

      John - 2011-12-14 03:46

      Are there any competent doctors over there, why does this smack of the "Lockerbie Bomber" saga? Check him out, he was on his death bed, the sh.t is still alive.

      John - 2011-12-14 08:52

      There is a chance his application will be dismissed. The judges have questioned the credibility of the experts and asked for their credentials to be presented. Also consider that the defense's argument has not changed and it was unsuccessful the 1st time. They are saying Dwani's health has deteriated but they need to prove this. The decision is simple - do we deny extradidtion too every person facing serious criminal charges because they are depressed or do we not. I think Dewani's going DOWN!

  • Miklos - 2011-12-13 23:17

    Hahaha. An other ill convict.

  • Ian - 2011-12-13 23:19

    wow call the cdc in atlanta, sheikalitis is spreading like wild fire, esp among criminals lol

      Juan - 2011-12-14 04:03

      Yeah one of these days we will have empty prisons. Everybody's taking off sick as they are too ill to do their time. Nice

      Sean - 2011-12-14 07:33

      I wonder how many days sick leave criminals get in a three-year cycle!?

  • maseratifittipaldi - 2011-12-13 23:21

    They must really do something about these sickening lawyer fees. It is driving people insane.

  • maseratifittipaldi - 2011-12-13 23:24

    Now what if the country had a death penalty for murder. Would he be too ill to die?

      Graham - 2011-12-14 04:35

      If the country had the death penalty he wouldn't be extradited, in accordance with British law.

  • charmaine.rowlands - 2011-12-13 23:31

    yet another "Shaik'er" too ill to take responsibility for his actions... It's becoming tedious, no one believes you Dewani, we didn't in the beginning and we don't now!!

  • janine.meyburgh - 2011-12-13 23:31

    Sounds a little Shakey Gosh he has learn't from our best SA role models already. If Shrien has nothing to hide, I am sure that he would want this nasty experience to come to an end. Post Traumatic Stress - please - it is the guilt that is killing him, please put him out of his misery and extradite him so that he can clear his name of do the time.

  • elsie.debeer - 2011-12-13 23:47

    We are living in Sa! But hell, do we need to be so bad aboard? Just about everything is "inadquite"! We also try and keep a justice system in place but it seem to many corruption in the top ranks are eating away on our "image" aboard and this will eventually be the reason for SA to be a crime "Heaven". With the likes of our own High Bra's pleading ill when procecuted - it will be the same play for all being procecuted, BY EXAMPLE they will follow. Sjoe shall we ask for more fun in SA

  • Boer - 2011-12-13 23:49

    Déjà vu

  • ruth.marais - 2011-12-13 23:50

    Law sucks!!!! Too many people are getting away with murder. Change the law if need be. People must pay for their crime!!! Send Dewani to South Africa. He is as guilty as can be. If innocent, why all this act?? Prove it!! Wish I was an honest one!!

  • Grant - 2011-12-14 00:04

    If the lawyer Clare Montgomery QC was successful and Dewani walked free, would her conscience allow her to sleep at night? A very bad picture has been painted about the SA prison system. People who post comments like, "Papa is waiting for you" whenever a serious crime is in the news do not do our image any good.

      John - 2011-12-14 04:09

      Grant, what image? Over here, I have stopped telling people where I come from because of our fantastic image! The ANC hierarchy has killed that already. I belong to the Expats club here and every month at our meeting all they talk about is SA and our failing judicial(JUBJUBicial) system. Of course the latest drug smuggling into Bangkok by a SOUTH AFRICAN doesn't help either. When will the uneducated masses who vote for these idiots realize that the ANC has not got anything but their pockets in mind when they incompetently govern our country?????

      Alan - 2011-12-14 08:35

      Agree Margie, many people are asking the same question.

      JoaoFlickr - 2011-12-14 10:21

      @michael.liebenberg Do you realise that your tongue is exactly where your words are?

  • Joseph - 2011-12-14 00:17

    Too ill to stand trail but too fresh to committe crime.

      Michael - 2011-12-14 11:07

      I hope and trust he never left a snail trail on his way to his trial!

  • leerobbertse - 2011-12-14 00:28

    ''The evidence before the judge demonstrated that South Africa, since the end of apartheid, had consistently upheld the rule of law and individual rights''.........Now that is news to me which South Africa are we talking about?!!

  • duncanslabber - 2011-12-14 01:04

    This idiot came over here thinking he could literally get away with murder based on what he heard through the media etc. He would have also heard about our prison hospitality service etc. He knew the risks,he under estimated the situation and he got cought. now he must pay the piper. As for his "illness". The govt has offered him a single cell in one of the newer prisons with hot and cold water as well as access to a private doctor if he so wishes. That is more than any of us would get. Its a real shame that we will never see him here again as everyone knows that when in doubt you can allways rely on the European court of human rights to side with the criminal.

  • Warrick - 2011-12-14 01:36

    here we go again

  • Mabs - 2011-12-14 01:52

    The lovely Anni never had such consideration shown her in her hour of need.

  • raymond.kok3 - 2011-12-14 04:53

    i think we have a new epidemic on our hands people 'the shabir syndrome' and i hope that our goverment will get the best doctors to research this dreaded illness so that we will be spared for all this and the insurance companies must please cover as or add this to their list of dangerous risk illness and advice us where to get treatment thanks you dumb idiot

      Sean - 2011-12-14 07:51

      I think it is swine flu!

  • brionyl.french - 2011-12-14 05:32

    What is it with all you cowardly men who will do the crime and then claim your dying??? They have medical staff in prison and Cele found out. Die in jail you desreve to criminal/ murderer

  • AyGeewils - 2011-12-14 05:36

    The law is a complete ass! why should this heartless coldblooded murderer's wellbeing be considered? And if he's innocent would this all be going on? Let him rot in the worst jail we have!

  • emile.eley - 2011-12-14 05:58

    Since when do you take sick days from justice? Weird days.

      Sean - 2011-12-14 07:53

      Indefinite sick leave over a 3 year cycle?

  • Zion - 2011-12-14 06:12

    First it was Shabir Shaik who became too sick to go to jail, then itwas Selebi too sick to do his time and now it is Dewani. "Seems like being too sick has become a legitimate way of staying out of jail. Go to jail. Go directly to jail. Do not pass go, do not pass the hospital. Go directly to jail.

      sean.redmond3 - 2011-12-14 07:27

      DO pass the hospital,ney?

  • Larry - 2011-12-14 06:22

    I suppose he will use the Sheik and Selebi Precedences in his defence?

  • tony.bosman2 - 2011-12-14 06:56

    Must have contracted the Sheiky virus whilst socialising with Selebi

  • Johan Britz - 2011-12-14 07:01

    And the guy that killed Chris Hani, who has cancer and don't know what else, isn't sick enough to be released? How the hell does that work? Oh thats right, he's not a friend of the ruling black mob.

  • Enlightened - 2011-12-14 07:01

    but he is not too sick to instruct his lawyers to take the mater to their supreme court and if that fails, to the European court.Bull sh-t. It's not acceptable. Get him out here. I'm sure they've already appointed a "daddy" to look after him so he will be in no danger :)

  • malcolm - 2011-12-14 07:04

    HE claims his innocence, and since the law in South Africa is biased in favor of criminals, he should be quite confident he will never sit in prison. Besides this, if he doesn't get extradited, this will be in violation of the treaty. The British will arguably have to cancel the treaty which then makes South Africa a safe haven for AL-quaeda and other terrorist groups that commit acts of terror in Britain, and are able to flee to South Africa. Send the pig back here to face the law.

  • - 2011-12-14 07:14

    So he is ill, mentally unstable and a suicide risk. Just send him to SA with his doctor and his meds and his shrink. Surely we'll be able to supply him with a strait jacket. And problem solved. He can stand trial!!

  • spookoctopus - 2011-12-14 07:21

    I hope the British court does not forget who the real victim was in this tragic case.

  • The-third - 2011-12-14 07:25

    Yes.. a huge epidemic hits everyone who's about to go to jail. Amazing. Scientists are baffled.

  • Dumisani - 2011-12-14 07:27

    too ill??? screw that, tell him we also got doctors here not just hit men.

  • Peter - 2011-12-14 07:31

    Bring in chinese justice overhere we could empty the jails by having mass executions, only to start filling the jails within the next 6 months ??

  • Jerolan - 2011-12-14 07:31

    New trend - fake illness, walk free

  • Mashudu - 2011-12-14 07:33

    crap,He must come to defend himself if he real loved his wife. we want to know exactly what happened!

  • PieterWolf - 2011-12-14 07:41

    Jackie Shabir Dewani.???

  • Elaine - 2011-12-14 07:53

    ""too ill to be extradited" and was a suicide risk" - we're willing to take the risk! he needs to come to SA and face the music! He had his wife killed. NOT GETTING AWAY WITH IT!

  • dave.j.colquhoun - 2011-12-14 07:57

    It's never fails to amaze me as how those with financial means can always find a way to drag their cases out ad nauseum. The fact that his "defence" lawer is a female is also astounding when we consider the fact that Dewani has already demonstrated his willingness to kill innocent women. Dewani is pulling a fast one and I cannot believe that the British Courts cannot see through this. They should send him back to RSA and we'll take good care of him. Even better care than he took of his wife. Lets give him a skipping rope to play with under the guise of allowing him to stay fit whilst he is in custody. That way he can do himself in and save us all the costs of supporting him for the next 40 years. I think we are all getting sick and tired of these so-called life threatening Shaik / Selebi illnesses that all these rich people suddenly develop as soon as they get caught. It's funny how the poor people don't get these illnesses. Perhaps there is something contagious amongst the rich people. To think that QC Clare Montgomery goes home at the end of the day and eats with that mouth of hers after a hard day defending this piece of cr*p. The mind boggles.

  • fishycraig - 2011-12-14 07:58

    Can the doctors check on him in 21 minutes? Maybe in that minute they don't see in on him he will at least do the honorable thing.

  • ana.curcic - 2011-12-14 08:01

    Stupid fool. He should beg to be sent to RSA. He sure fits the profile of Shabier, Yengeni, Selebi and >>>>>>> many others, and I am sure that our medical care is better than that in UK.

  • Michelle - 2011-12-14 08:06

    What a load of bull!!!!! send him here - we'll deal with this sod!!

  • mani.bodenstein - 2011-12-14 08:17

    mmmmm....nice to kill not so nice to be killed............

  • Garth - 2011-12-14 08:23

    Other than with that cowardly piece of dried dog's vomit dewani, the fault lies with a justice system that is too liberal. Once a person has been sentenced, in this case to extradition, then he/she/it should be remanded in custody at H.M.'s customs as happens with any other deportee. It benefits no one for a criminal to languish at home or in a hospital, whilst over-paid lawyers battle over his appeal against the sentence. I do not expect that we shall ever see dewani in our country again. The British justice system is unjust to the victim.

  • Elize - 2011-12-14 08:30

    Dewani was not too sick to come to SA and arrange Anni's murder, he must be paying his lawyer a large amount of money to keep the wool over her eyes with his great acting schemes. Bring him back to SA to face his trial, all his sickness will be gone by the time he lands in SA. Why is his lawyer so worried about SA prisons has she have first hand experience? Makes one wonder is the UK prisons any different. Dewani will have great service in our prisons he will get what he deserves! If a SA women must pay with her life in another country for smuggeling drugs, then Dewani must pay for what he did to his wife, MURDER!

  • Breinlekkasie - 2011-12-14 08:37

    There is nothing Prozac, sleeping pills and a straight jacked can't solve. Why are we always looking for problems instead of finding solutions. The straight jacked to prevent suicide and Prozac and sleeping pills to keep him calm and healthy. He will be ready to visit South Africa within a week or so.

  • julian.mulder - 2011-12-14 08:39

    And what about The health, and the life of his wife?

  • Sharon - 2011-12-14 08:47

    Oh No .............the ill ticket has moved to England as

  • Roberto - 2011-12-14 09:02

    Shaik, Selebi, Dewani... Ag shame. Not too sick to do the crime but way too sick to do the time!!

  • elsabe.wessels1 - 2011-12-14 09:34

    SA can definitely receive a few tips from China. Do not let a possible suspect of any crime leave the country before the case is not settled! This man is going to be ill for the rest of his life!