Dewani team to apply for discharge
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.