Western Cape High Court Deputy Judge President Jeanette Traverso has lambasted a prosecutor in Shrien Dewani’s murder trial for scurrying around to finalise witnesses and the investigation.
Prosecutor Adrian Mopp had asked for a postponement until Friday for a witness to testify on primer residue found on a glove used in Anni Dewani’s fatal shooting in November 2010.
He said the defence had a copy of the expert witness’s report but then conceded the report did not include an aspect they wanted to lead the witness on and that would still need to be handed over.
The state had expected ballistician Warrant Officer Pieter Engelbrecht to testify but he told the court he could not because he was not an expert on that subject.
Traverso said Mopp must surely have known this in preparation for the trial.
“This crime was committed four years ago. There were lengthy extradition proceedings, statements have been made, video clips have been made, police have gone on television, Panarama programs and other programs about the state’s case,” she said.
“And now you are telling me that you are waiting for something as fundamental as primer residue?”
Traverso said it was “very disturbing” that the trial was in its 20th day and the state was still gathering witnesses.
Even during Engelbrecht’s testimony, most of his evidence had been prepared while the trial was running, she said.
Mopp conceded that the state had only thought to obtain the results of the primer residue test after the defence asked for it.
“I must just express my great displeasure at the way in which the matter is being dealt with. This matter has cost the state a lot of money ... When is it going to end, how is it going to end, how much more investigation do you want?” Traverso asked.
Mopp made a deal with Traverso that this was the last piece of the investigation that was needed.
A cellphone mapping expert lined up for testimony today was not called because the defence did not dispute the relevant evidence.
The court will not sit tomorrow because it is the anniversary of Anni’s death.