State has not amended indictment - Dewani defence

2014-11-24 12:21
Shrien Dewani. (File: AFP)

Shrien Dewani. (File: AFP)

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Cape Town - The State has not amended the indictment of British businessman Shrien Dewani to include the admittedly bigger role that the alleged middleman played in his wife Anni's murder, the Western Cape High Court heard on Monday.

Francois van Zyl, for Dewani, referred to the indictment in which it was alleged his client conspired with a group of men to kill his wife while they were on honeymoon in Cape Town in November 2010.

He was applying to Deputy Judge President Jeanette Traverso to discharge Dewani on the criminal charges, in terms of section 174 of the Criminal Procedure Act.

Van Zyl said that when hotel receptionist Monde Mbolombo took the stand as a State witness, he conceded that he was actually in control of the "operation" the night of 13 November 2010.

Traverso said the State had asked her, in its heads of argument, to disregard this.

Telephone calls

Van Zyl said Mbolombo was not merely a middleman, as the State had claimed in the indictment.

"If one looks at the telephone calls, what was said, and his role, it is quite clear that he was involved in this operation from an early stage."

He said Mbolombo had admitted to lying in his initial affidavits and subsequent testimonies.

"One would have expected... that we would have seen an amendment to the indictment and we haven't seen that."

The defence and the State filed heads of argument last week.

Section 174 of the act provides that if, at the close of the prosecution's case, the court believes there is no evidence that the accused committed the offence it may return a verdict of not guilty.

The State closed its case a week ago.

On her role in the discharge application Traverso told Van Zyl: "It is my decision, but the assessors can assist me in making factual findings."

Surprise helicopter trip

Dewani is on trial for allegedly plotting with shuttle taxi driver Zola Tongo and others to kill his wife 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 he conspired with others to stage the hijacking, for which he paid R15 000.

He 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.

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

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

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