Bail hear­ing told of CCTV footage

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE -

SAPA-AFP yes­ter­day re­ported that lawyers for South African au­thor­i­ties had ar­gued that there were sub­stan­tial grounds for sus­pect­ing Shrien De­wani would not sur­ren­der for an ex­tra­di­tion hear­ing later this month were he al­lowed bail.

Ben Wat­son, for the South African au­thor­i­ties, told Bri­tish Judge Dun­can Ouse­ley yes­ter­day that there was sig­nif­i­cant new ev­i­dence – in­clud­ing closed-cir­cuit footage show­ing De­wani al­legedly ob­tain­ing black mar­ket money to fund the murder – in­di­cat­ing there was a pow­er­ful case against him.

But Judge Ouse­ley dis­agreed. He said: “I have con­cluded that he has a con­tin­u­ing and re­al­is­tic in­ter­est in mak­ing sure that he clears his name.

“He has no crim­i­nal con­vic­tions, is pro­fes­sion­ally qual­i­fied and his fam­ily is of high stand­ing in the lo­cal com­mu­nity in Bris­tol, with no ob­vi­ous in­ter­est in help­ing him to ab­scond.”

Be­cause of the “tragic and ter­ri­ble murder of his wife”, his face was well known and it would be dif­fi­cult for him to de­part the UK or “go un­der­ground”.

De­wani strongly de­nies any in­volve­ment in the murder and told the ear­lier court hear­ing in London that he did not agree to be­ing ex­tra­dited to face trial in South Africa.

De­wani’s lawyer, Clare Mont­gomery QC, ar­gued that the ac­cu­sa­tions against De­wani were “im­prob­a­ble”, and his fam­ily had dis­missed them as “to­tally lu­di­crous”.

In South Africa yes­ter­day, Na­tional Pros­e­cut­ing Author­ity spokesman Mthunzi Mhaga said: “We are now busy pre­par­ing the paper work for the ex­tra­di­tion and an ap­pli­ca­tion will be sub­mit­ted to the Depart­ment of Jus­tice.

“We... will en­sure that there is no de­lay.”

Jus­tice Min­is­ter Jeff Radebe said sug­ges­tions that De­wani would not get a fair trial in South Africa were with­out the “slight­est foun­da­tion”.

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