Make-or-break for Dewani

2014-08-15 05:00
Shrien Dewani (Picture: Sapa)

Shrien Dewani (Picture: Sapa)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Cape Town – Murder accused Shrien Dewani will return to court for another pre-trial hearing on Friday to see whether he is mentally fit to stand trial or not, according to reports.

Cape Judge President John Hlophe will make the ruling at the Western Cape High Court following an assessment on Dewani’s mental health compiled by a panel of experts, Eyewitness News reported.

Dewani’s ability to stand trial on 6 October will be decided by Hlophe, EWN said.

According to media reports there have been conflicting diagnoses of his mental state.

In June Hlophe ruled that Dewani be sent for mental observation after director of Public Prosecutions Rodney de Kock brought an application for Dewani's mental health to be officially observed in terms of the Criminal Procedure Act.

De Kock said observation was necessary as the mental health report prepared by Valkenberg psychiatrist Dr Sean Baumann differed in its opinion to that of Professor Tuviah Zabow, acting on behalf of Dewani.

Both reports, compiled on 3 June, were handed up to Hlophe.

"In view of the history of this matter and the current conflict regarding the question whether the accused suffers from a mental illness and its potential impact on his fitness to stand trial, the State is of the view that the matter must be resolved definitively," he said.

Dewani, who is accused of planning the killing of his bride, Anni, in a staged hijacking while on honeymoon in Cape Town in 2010, was extradited from Britain in April after losing a three-year battle to avoid trial in South Africa.

Since his arrival, he has been treated at a state psychiatric hospital for post-traumatic stress and depression related to the killing of his Swedish wife.

The 34-year-old was implicated in his wife's death by three co-accused who agreed to testify for the State in exchange for lesser sentences.

He has denied any involvement in the killing.

Since much of Dewani's extradition fight centred on his mental health, the court ordered that he be assessed by a panel of experts over 30 days so that the question of his fitness to stand trial could be resolved definitively.

After Dewani’s last court appearance in June defence lawyer Francois van Zyl expressed confidence that he would be ready for trial in October.

During an interview with eNCA, Anni’s uncle Ashok Hindocha spoke out about Dewani’s mental health for the first time.

According to eNCA, Hindocha wished Dewani well and urged him to tell them what happened.

Anni’s uncle said his family was not aware of the murder accused having a psychological history, adding that majority of his family would be in Cape Town when Dewani goes on trial.

If found guilty Dewani faces a minimum of 25 years of the five charges he faces.

Read more on:    john hlophe  |  anni hindocha  |  shrien dewani  |  cape town  |  honeymoon hijacking  |  crime

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.