Tongo willing to lie - judge

2014-12-08 12:12
British millionaire Shrien Dewani sits in a car leaving the Cape Town High Court. (Mujahid Safodien, AFP)

British millionaire Shrien Dewani sits in a car leaving the Cape Town High Court. (Mujahid Safodien, AFP)

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Cape Town - The only accomplice witness in British businessman Shrien Dewani's trial was prepared to lie to create an atmosphere of suspicion around him, Western Cape High Court deputy Judge President Jeanette Traverso said on Monday.

She said former shuttle taxi driver Zola Tongo's testimony was riddled with contradictions and he did not hesitate to change his evidence as needed.

"His evidence and version of events he gave is also highly improbable, but having said that, at this stage of the proceedings, his credibility plays a limited role."

She was handing down judgment in an application to have Dewani discharged of the charge of killing of his wife Anni in 2010.

"No credible evidence"

Earlier, she said it was trite that a court should approach the evidence of an accomplice witness with caution.

Dewani stared at Traverso as she spoke. A single television camera had been placed to the left of the dock, providing feed as part of a pool arrangement.

Dewani's legal team brought the discharge application in terms of section 174 of the Criminal Procedure Act, opening the way for a discharge if the court believes there is no credible evidence at the close of the State's case.

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

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

Abandoned minibus

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

Tongo is serving an 18-year jail term and Qwabe a 25-year jail term. 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.

Read more on:    zola tongo  |  jeanette traverso  |  anni hindocha  |  shrien dewani  |  dewani trial

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