State to present ballistic demo in Dewani trial

2014-10-21 20:37
Shrien Dewani (File, AFP)

Shrien Dewani (File, AFP)

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Cape Town - The State has called a ballistic expert to give evidence at the Shrien Dewani murder trial on Wednesday, requesting extra time to set up a demonstration at the Western Cape High Court.

What appeared to be a damaged car seat wrapped in cellophane and marked as police evidence was seen by News24 resting on the prosecutor’s bench earlier on Tuesday.

Dewani is on trial for masterminding the murder of his bride, Anni during an apparent botched hijacking during their honeymoon in Cape Town in November 2010.

He has pleaded not guilty to all five charges against him.

The ballistic expert will follow Sergeant Cornelius Mellet on the witness stand, who was on duty at Harare Police Station, Khayelitsha, the night of the murder on 13 November 2010.

‘Sweating and very nervous’

Mellet told the court that on the night of the murder, Dewani’s appearance and clothes were clean, and that he was unharmed.

The sergeant said he thought it was unusual for people to become involved in robberies in Khayalitsha "without a struggle taking place".

Mellet said that in his experience, “people that are being robbed, whether it is a knife, a firearm or a hijacking...the skollies [thugs], they injure everybody".

Mellet told the court that he had driven Dewani from the police station to the Cape Grace hotel and thought it was “strange” that he did not ask what the police were doing to find his wife.

He also noted that Dewani was "sweating and was very nervous", and “moved fast” once he was inside the hotel.

‘An atmosphere of suspicion’

Yet defence advocate Francois van Zyl pointed out that the notes Mellet had taken after the car journey had since gone missing, and claimed that Mellet was trying to “create an atmosphere of suspicion” around Dewani.

Van Zyl argued that Dewani was in a hurry to return to the hotel as from there he could make phone calls to the UK.

He also put it to Mellet that Dewani did not mention his wife in the car journey back to the hotel as he was suffering from severe psychological trauma having been through a highjacking.

Dewani nodded in the dock as Van Zyl spoke, before Mellet conceded that could have been possible.

Anni’s cousin in tears

Anni’s family strained to hear the fast-paced exchange between Afrikaans-speaking Mellet, the interpreter and the defence.

Earlier in the day, the court witnessed an emotional end to the testimony of Anni’s cousin Sneha


Mashru broke down in tears describing how she had dressed Anni’s body for her funeral, adding that she had never seen a dead body so close.

Questioning Mashru over the funeral, Van Zyl had asked her if she had ever seen a dead body “stiff and swollen”.

Van Zyl later apologised for his line of questioning, though he said it was necessary.

Mashru previously said she thought Dewani had acted strangely, not showing love or sadness during the planning of the funeral - which he was conducting on a spreadsheet.

Van Zyl pointed out that the funeral was vast, with an estimated 1 500 guests.

The trial will resume at the Western Cape High Court on Wednesday morning.

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

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