News24

Dewani trial ruling welcomed

2012-09-26 16:22

Cape Town - The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) welcomed a ruling on Wednesday that will allow it to use two key pieces of evidence in its case against one of Anni Dewani's alleged killers.

Provincial NPA spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila said the Western Cape High Court's decision to admit Xolile Mngeni's statement and pointing out of scenes linked to the crime was a "small victory".

"The statement is important in that it allows us the opportunity to question him, to cross-examine him... but what is more important is that it places him at the crime scene," he said.

Mngeni, 25, is on trial for the hijacking, robbing and killing of Dewani in Gugulethu on 13 November 2010. She was on honeymoon with her husband Shrien at the time.

He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

A trial-within-a-trial was launched by the State after the defence objected to the admission of Mngeni's statement and the pointing out, claiming they were made under duress, after Mngeni was assaulted by the police following his arrest in November 2010.

The defence said Mngeni was also denied the opportunity to exercise his constitutional right to a legal representative.

It also said Mngeni was interrogated for a lengthy period and his health concerns ignored.

Judge Robert Henney's ruling on Wednesday was brief and he said he would elaborate on the reasons for the ruling only at a later stage.

Ntabazalila said the court had relied on the testimony of the State's numerous witnesses, because Mngeni had chosen not to take the stand and elaborate on the allegations.

The trial resumes on October 8.