Key points from Day 8 of Dewani trial

2014-10-22 18:59
(File, AP)

(File, AP)

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Cape Town - Day eight of the Shrien Dewani murder trial in the Western Cape High Court on Wednesday saw testimony from police ballistics expert Warrant Officer Pieter Engelbrecht - the tenth witness to be called by the State.

Engelbrecht's evidence was torn apart by defence advocate Pieter Botha during cross-examination, exposing last-minute and shoddy police work and casting doubts on his credibility and how strong the State's case is - especially because the defence has conducted its own ballistics tests, which will be introduced in court later.

Key to the defence's case is that it was convicted hitman Mziwamadoda Qwabe, and not accomplice Xolile Mngeni, who fired the shot that killed Anni Hindocha - and that it could not have been fired from the front seat, as the State claims.

Here are the key points of the day's proceedings:

- Engelbrecht re-tested exhibits for Mngeni's trial in 2012. Mngeni was found guilty of murder and sentenced to life.

- Engelbrecht measured Mngeni's arms in Goodwood Prison last week Friday - the day before Mngeni died from a brain tumour.

- He also took measurements of the firearm and vehicle, as well as conducting a trigger pulling exercise. Sponge from the seat was admitted as an exhibit.

- Measurements are important - Mngeni's arm from hand to elbow was 55.5cm but the distance between the front seat and where Anni was sitting was 80cm. The witness conceded he didn't measure it properly.

- According to Engelbrecht, the trajectory of the bullet indicated the fatal shot came from the front seat - supporting Qwabe's testimony.

- Anni was sitting in the middle of the back seat and leaned to her right before being shot.

- Engelbrecht's testimony during Qwabe's trial was read out - he stated it was difficult to determine exactly where the shot was fired from.

- Three video clips - recently recorded in an apparent response to the defence's independent tests - were shown in court, recreating possible shooting scenarios. Dewani looked down briefly but did not appear to be moved by the footage.

- Engelbrecht came under fire from Botha for using a different model VW Sharan to that owned by taxi driver Zola Tongo to conduct his tests. It even had different seats, calling into question how accurate his measurements could be.

- Engelbrecht said the car seats were in "normal position" when he carried out his tests, but Botha pointed out that photographs from the crime scene indicated the front passenger seat was far forward.

- Engelbrecht also said Anni's hand was not necessarily against her chest when she was shot - apparently contradicting pathologist Dr Janette Verster.

- The case was adjourned to Monday - court will not sit on Thursday as both families celebrating Diwali, and criminal matters are not heard in court on Fridays.

Read more on:    anni hindocha  |  shrien dewani  |  dewani trial

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