No credible evidence against Dewani - lawyer

2014-11-24 18:24
Shrien Dewani (File: AFP)

Shrien Dewani (File: AFP)

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Cape Town - British businessman Shrien Dewani should be discharged of the killing of his wife Anni Hindocha because there is no credible evidence against him, the Western Cape High Court heard on Monday.

Francois van Zyl, for Dewani, spent all Monday trying to convince the court that various testimonies against his client held no weight and could not be relied on.

"It is submitted that there is no credible evidence left on record implicating the accused in the commission of the alleged offences, upon which a court, acting carefully, may convict him," he submitted.

With reference to the Glen Agliotti case, the defence's legal position was that an accused was entitled to be discharged if there was no possibility of conviction other than if he entered the witness box and incriminated himself.

Van Zyl was presenting arguments in an application to have his client discharged, following the closing of the State's case against Dewani last week.

Most of Van Zyl's time was spent picking apart the evidence of crucial witness shuttle taxi driver Zola Tongo, who drove the couple around Cape Town in November 2010.

Tongo was the only witness who had direct contact with Dewani.

He testified that Dewani approached him soon after landing in Cape Town with a request for a hitman.

Explanations ‘laughable’

Van Zyl said Tongo was an unreliable witness whose testimony was improbable and riddled with inconsistencies.

He said some of his explanations made no sense while others were simply "laughable".

"It is submitted that Tongo's evidence, implicating the accused, is of such appalling poor quality that no reliance whatsoever can be placed thereon," he told the court.

Dewani is on trial for allegedly plotting with Tongo and others to kill his wife Anni while they were on honeymoon in Cape Town in November 2010.

He has pleaded not guilty to charges including kidnapping, murder and defeating the ends of justice.

He claims the couple was hijacked while Tongo drove them through Gugulethu in his minibus on Saturday, 13 November 2010.

He was released unharmed and Anni was driven away. She was found shot dead in the abandoned minibus in Khayelitsha the next morning.

The State alleges Dewani conspired with others to stage the hijacking, for which he paid R15 000.

Dewani maintains that Tongo helped him organise a surprise helicopter trip for Anni for R15 000.

Tongo is serving an 18-year jail term and Mziwamadoda Qwabe, a 25-year jail term. Xolile Mngeni was serving life in jail for firing the shot that killed Anni, but died in prison from a brain tumour on 18 October.

Hotel receptionist Monde Mbolombo was granted immunity from prosecution on two charges during Mngeni's trial, but was warned he faced possible prosecution on various charges if he did not testify truthfully during Dewani's trial.

Qwabe ‘untruthful witness’

Van Zyl argued on Monday that not even the testimonies of Mbolombo and Qwabe could be used to corroborate that of Tongo.

He concluded that Qwabe was an untruthful witness whose evidence was wholly unreliable.

But he said the "prize" for lying under oath should go to Mbolombo, who shaped his evidence to suit the situation and was completely unreliable.

He sat down and allowed Adrian Mopp to present his arguments on behalf of the State, which then requested an adjournment.

Mopp will present argument in the application on Tuesday morning.

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

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