De­wani team to ap­ply for dis­charge

The Star Early Edition - - FRONT PAGE -

LAWYERS for Bri­tish busi­ness­man Shrien De­wani said yes­ter­day they in­tended ap­ply­ing to the Western Cape High Court for his dis­charge on charges of con­spir­ing to kill his wife Anni.

Fran­cois van Zyl, for De­wani, said the de­fence in­tended mak­ing an ap­pli­ca­tion to Deputy Judge Pres­i­dent Jeanette Traverso in terms of sec­tion 174 of the Crim­i­nal Pro­ce­dure Act.

Van Zyl said it had been a long trial and the de­fence needed time to pre­pare its ap­pli­ca­tion as there were many facts it had to deal with.

The de­fence would file its heads of ar­gu­ment to­mor­row and the State would file re­spond­ing pa­pers on Fri­day.

Judge Traverso said the ap­pli­ca­tion would be heard on Mon­day.

Sec­tion 174 of the Crim­i­nal Pro­ce­dure Act pro­vides that if, at the close of the pros­e­cu­tion’s case, the court be­lieves there is no ev­i­dence that the ac­cused com­mit­ted the of­fence, it may re­turn a ver­dict of not guilty. The State closed its case yes­ter­day.

De­wani is on trial for al­legedly plot­ting with shut­tle taxi driver Zola Tongo and oth­ers to kill his wife Anni while they were on hon­ey­moon in Cape Town in Novem­ber 2010.

The State al­leges De­wani con­spired with oth­ers to stage the hi­jack­ing, for which he paid R15 000.

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

Tongo is serv­ing an 18-year jail term and Mzi­wa­madoda Qwabe, a 25-year jail term. Xo­lile Mn­geni was serv­ing life in jail for killing Anni, but died in prison from a brain tu­mour last month.

Be­fore clos­ing its case, the State handed up the lat­est common-cause facts agreed to by it­self and the de­fence. In­cluded in the doc­u­ment was a time­line and “cell­phone anal­y­sis and map­ping” re­port by the Coun­cil for Sci­en­tific and In­dus­trial Re­search’s prin­ci­pal re­searcher, Dr Peter Sch­mitz.

All calls and text mes­sages be­tween De­wani, Tongo, Monde Mbolombo, Qwabe and Mn­geni, as well as the dates and times thereof, were not in dis­pute. The re­port showed that De­wani spoke to Tongo on his cell­phone for over five min­utes on the day he landed in Cape Town, and then twice again shortly be­fore the ap­par­ent hi­jack­ing the next evening.

Ac­cord­ing to the common-cause-facts doc­u­ment, De­wani made a on­ce­off elec­tronic pay­ment to the Cape Grace Ho­tel of R30 000, half of which was for his stay and the other a staff gra­tu­ity.

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