18 August 2014
It has come as some relief to those outsiders that care about the murder of an innocent young woman, that justice prevails, and that her husband who is accused of complicity in her murder, will indeed now face a fair trial in South Africa on 6th October 2014. [There is a question as to whether the couple were formally and ‘legally’ married though]
Mr Shrien Dewani, a British man has avoided such a trial for well over three years as his legal team had surprisingly & successfully convinced the British Courts that his unusually fragile mental (and normally temporary) condition of depression prohibited that.
It is not clear, but it seems likely, that the medical diagnosis of his illness was obtained, certainly initially, from paid-for doctors. All this time later, medical opinion and the courts, in both England & South Africa, have decreed that the man IS mentally fit to be forced back to South Africa and at last to stand trial for murder.
The fact that Mr Dewani has apparently shown little grief and fought like a tiger, with constant appeals, right to the very end, to avoid facing the charges against him, is very disturbing, particularly when his new young wife had lost her life in a violent attack (in which incidentally he was unscathed himself).
There is no doubt that the original accusations against rich boy Shrien Dewani are based (but not solely) on the testimony of evil convicted killers, who may well have had good reason to falsify their accounts. We will have to wait and see what other significant evidence has been gathered, what credibility can be given to everything, and what comes out in the Western Cape Court itself. It is thought that he will claim to have been framed.
One must admire the tenacity though of the SA authorities to get him back in the country for interview and their work against the might of the English legal system. Whether the man is innocent or guilty, there is certainly, for him, ‘a case to answer isn’t there?’.
It is difficult to simply blame the ‘indulgent’ English ‘legal system’ for such an unbelievable delay and accepting a convenient defence psychiatric diagnosis, but then it is does also raise serious questions about the UK’s medical profession, senior doctors’ abilities, and to their capability to deal with mental illness doesn’t it? Three years to unsuccessfully treat someone for depression despite all the modern drugs, electroconvulsive therapy, or alternative techniques available, is a disgusting outcome surely? One can’t help but ask ‘why is that’? Depression is a psychiatric disorder and indeed can be a serious chronic illness, but it is surely worrying that in this particular high profile case that our medical experts were stumped?
Dewani refused to voluntarily return, only a few weeks after his wife was killed, to the place where she was murdered, when apparently he was a well man; then it appears that suddenly became ‘mentally incapacitated’ two months later in a legal submission to the court to avoid extradition. That has all been disquieting hasn’t it?
The BBC’s Panorama programme this time last year supporting Mr Dewan’s innocence has been analysed & slated as underhand skulduggery on dozens of points – would they really do that? Why though was such a programme commissioned on a pending murder trial anyway – unprecedented surely? Was publicist Max Clifford, who shocked us all by even working for murder accussed Dewani, involved? (Clifford pleading innocence, was convicted a few month ago and given for eight years prison for child sex abuse).
[The BBC have history of course – seven years ago the BBCs ‘Rough Justice’ programme identified a man convicted of murder of an old lady about ten years ago (Stuart Hall) as one suffering a miscarriage of justice – last year he publically actually confessed to the crime!]
Nearly four and a half years ago a 28 year old young Swedish woman Anni Dewani (nee Hindocha) was shot dead late at night in a township near Cape Town. We know exactly who pulled the trigger though, Xolile Mngeni (convicted of her evil carjacking murder, together with accomplices Zola Tongo , and Mziwamadoda Qwabe). A bride tragically killed on her own honeymoon.
Outrage and fury from far & wide has erupted to greet a recent announcement, reportedly from the South African authorities, that Mngeni himself is to be released from jail – set to walk free less than two years into his life sentence BECAUSE he is terminally ill with a brain tumor. Why should he die ‘a free man’?
However, there is another man accused of being directly involved in the murder and indeed of being the person who actually orchestrated it, and arranged it as a contract killing – but he has been neither brought to justice nor acquitted YET. He was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to murder just weeks after the murder. He is Shrien Dewani, the British husband of the dead woman.
This accused had left the country only a few days after his wife’s killing, and returned home to Bristol in the UK, before he was fingered as a suspect by one of the other men convicted of the horrible crime; Dewanirepeatedly fought & thwarted extradition to answer questions and potential charges in South Africa – because of medically diagnosed ‘depression’.
The South African authorities did though stick doggedly to the task of getting him back there to respond to the accusations made against him, and to get him to throw light on what really happened to that murdered innocent young lady. When he was originally arrested in UK some three weeks after the actual murder, Dewani refused to go back to SA, then six weeks later he first made a mental incapacity claim (stress).
Eventually after nine months Anni Dewani’s own family petitioned the Home Secretary for his extradition; and when granted his lawyers immediately lodged a legal appeal and he was allowed to remain in the UK – eventually for another two years. Mr. Dewani was finally sent to South Africa in early April after a 3 ½ year fight against it.
He has been charged with murder & kidnapping offences, so following-on from Oscar Pistorius, there is now another high profile South African murder trial in the offing.
Dewani is now due to stand trial on five charges at Western Cape High Court in October, but the trial will only go ahead if they decide that he is mentally fit [At the Prosecution’s request the Judge has sent Dewani for a 30-day mental health evaluation (following conflicting reports from two psychiatrists)].
Dewani claims total innocence of any plot of course, and his lawyers assert that the allegations against him are simply plea bargaining lies by the convicted offenders. However, his unbelievable inexcusable ‘abandonment’ of his wife to her fate (even if involuntary), his unprecedented release ‘unharmed’ by the kidnappers at midnight shortly before the killing, and a trickle of leaked evidence of his involvement, together with a seemingly unnatural flight & refusal to go back to Cape Town, the scene of his bride’s kidnapping & shooting, to provide vital information to the police, has dammed him in many eyes and frustrated the poor girl’s family. Yet, the British BBC’s respected television investigatory programme Panorama has reported inconsistencies in evidence and doubts about the strength of the Prosecution evidence and case against Dewani. [It seems unlikely that State forensic evidence will not be challenged by the defence, as it is difficult to ‘correctly’ collect such evidence in countries like South Africa].
Anni Dewani’s family ethnicity is Indian and her parents were Ugandan Asians who immigrated to Sweden, where she was born. She was also educated in the UK at Manchester University and worked as an Engineer for Ericsson the Swedish phone company. She married a fellow Hindu, then her life was prematurely ended two weeks later on 13th November 2010.
Any trial is likely to consider Dewani’s finances, sexual orientation, payments to Tongo [who it is said was offered 15,000 Rand (under £1000)] to organise the killing), his bank transactions, his phone and texts records (as well as those of Anni Dewani), together with any CCTV recordings involving him; also presumably two of the convicted will give evidence against him.
Proper details will only come out if the Dewani trial goes ahead as planned – then we will see where all this is going won’t we?
[The World’s spotlight is on the South African justice system due to two violent killings of young females, first regarding Pistorius’ ongoing trial in Pretoria, and again in Cape Town with Dewani’s (another rich defendant) potential trial. The processes and the verdicts reached will be closely analyzed – of that you can be certain]