Oh yes, the Shrien Dewani trial trundles on at ‘South African justice pace’. Not many surprises to be had, as the road to be travelled is pretty well predictable though isn’t it – seeing that the murder of Anni Hindocha (Dewani) happened four years ago and three men have already been publically tried & convicted of her killing?
The case against Dewani is that the murders themselves said it was a ‘contract killing’ paid for by him. The main evidence against Dewani is consequently the testimony of three convicted men two who have benefitted from ‘plea bargains’ (and all are proven liars to boot), two who have now given their verbal evidence against him to the Court, and the third who ‘un-sadly’ died in prison two weeks ago. How strongly does SA law admit & believe such tainted evidence – who knows?
A main aspect of the State’s assertion of guilt is that Dewani had an extremely strong ‘motive’. He was a closet homosexual, of particular deviant nature, who had been coerced by family and religious pressures into a so called “normality” relationship, a heterosexual engagement, a sham wedding, and a marriage that he was desperate to get out of without loss of face and family humiliation.
The Prosecutor Adrian Mopp’s game plan was immediately blown out of the water last week when Judge Traverso declared that Dewani’s sexuality was NOT an issue to be considered by the Court. It was further fragmented this week when the Judge pronounced that under South African law, a judge is not interested in the prosecution proving motive.
Dewani’s position is that he is being fitted-up by the SA Authorities and that he is being framed to protect the Country’s reputation and tourist industry [now four years after the event no less?].
His problem though is that he has done some strange things along the way, hasn’t he? Like spending four years denying his sexuality and only revealing it at trial – because he knew that the evidence was about to be presented to the Court? Like he has spent a fortune on trying to avoid returning to SA to face his wife’s killers in court and respond to the accusations made against him; he then tenaciously fought a bitter legal battle to avoid extradition. Like on honeymoon arrival in SA he embarked on a financial relationship with a dodgy unlicensed taxi driver – who led the killing team and now has given damning evidence against him. Like as a new husband, inexcusably exposing his wife to a very dangerous place at night (a Cape Town remote ‘township’). Like surreptitiously obtaining a lot of cash (in SA terms though not UK/USA values) and indeed doing so using a backstreet money changer and not his hotel or proper business like a bank when you have to use your passport & where such transactions are recorded of course – as would be normal for a rich businessman tourist. Like he simple abandoned his wife to her fate after a carjacking but he himself escaped totally unfazed & unblemished.
The Police evidence is that Dewani presented an ‘unusual’ victim in some respects; as a person carjacked (since he was totally unscratched in the process); as a husband who’s wife was missing (but didn’t demand to know what was being done to find her); presented an obsessive priority to simply get back to his Hotel (he says it was merely to make phone calls – would that help to get his wife back one asks?). The Defence of course challenged the proof of all such evidence and this issue needs to be viewed by us observers by recognising that in SA remote police station documentation is not quite up to the same standard of Britain & other counties.
The Defence’s claim is that Anni’s shooting was accidental and that the gun went off unintentionally in an attempted rape during taking her out of the back of the car. Therefore this week they have been rubbishing the police’s ballistic expert because his evidence is that Anni was shot from the front of the car. We must await the Defence’s alternative ballistics analysis to know how they say Anni met her death – but does it really make much difference if she was killed earlier than planned, if the murder had been the intention at the outset?
The Defence are keen to discredit evidence given that the marriage was on the rocks within days by saying that Anni was trying to get pregnant (but we might ask, was that BEFORE she found out about his bedroom preferences & performance?).
Evidence together with a statement from a male prostitute given to the ‘Metropolitan Police three years ago identifies Dewani’s sexual depravity and also makes out that Dewani was troubled that he would be disowned by his own family if he broke-off his then engagement to Anni, but he was desperate to find a way out.
Filmed evidence showed Dewani surreptitiously paying money to the taxi driver killer Tonga (the main person the Defence has to discredit) on the morning AFTER his wife’s abduction & murder. (Is it totally conceivable or believable that a husband’s first thoughts at such a time would be to charitably compensate a taxi driver for loss of earnings?).
[Monies were paid out by Shrien Dewani certainly, but what hope have the Prosecution got of PROVING what it was for – there’s no paperwork involved in a ‘contract killing’ is there?]
PRESIDING: Deputy Judge President Jeanette Traverso
The first woman to assume a leadership position within the South African judiciary: the second woman to be appointed to the Bench in SA: the first woman to be appointed Deputy Judge President: the first woman to be called to the Cape Bar Council: the first woman to be conferred with Senior Counsel status.
Previously, a prosecutor in the magistrate courts & a State Advocate for the Attorney General.
Anni Dewani murdered in a Cape Town township