‘Enough evidence to extradite Dewani to South Africa’
make a decision on whether to extradite him on July 24.
Speaking at the Westminster Magistrate’s Court, De Kock said: “We are confident we have placed all the relevant information in front of the court. We are also confident that we have provided enough information on the medical facilities available, taking Mr Dewani’s current medical condition into account.
“We have heard in court that his medical condition has improved compared to the last statement in 2011, and we will do everything in our power to give an undertaking to help him get better if he should come back to South Africa.”
Dewani, 33, was given court permission to miss the four-day hearing and stay at a Bristol mental hospital where he is receiving treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder and depression. He denies allegations that he organised the murder of his wife Anni, 28, while on the Cape Town leg of their honeymoon in November 2010. She was found shot dead in the back of their taxi after being “hijacked” in Gugulethu.
The court was told that his condition was improving, but clinicians said he was unfit to plead and that it was likely he would never fully recover from the illnesses.
In ongoing legal battles, Dewani’s extradition was ordered in August 2011, but his return was halted by the High Court in London in March last year on the grounds it would be “unjust and oppressive” to extradite him immediately on health grounds.
The delays have led to frustrations in South Africa and among Anni’s family, who were in court this week and previ- ously said they wanted Dewani to reveal what happened on the night she died.
De Kock acknowledged those frustrations, but said: “I always say rules are there for a reason and it’s all about fairness. These things also happen in South Africa because we have similar legal systems, but each accused person has rights, and that’s why we have courts to adjudicate on them.
“We must have faith in the justice system and the judges and senior magistrates. Mr Dewani is ill, and that’s being dealt with. We have given an undertaking to look after him at Valkenberg Hospital and give him the best possible treatment.” Claire Montgomery, lawyer for the family, said she wanted any extradition to be delayed by six months so her client could continue his recovery. However, psychiatrist Dr Ian Cumming, for the South African authorities, said it might be “kinder” to send him back immediately so he could confront what happened on the night of the murder.
He told the court: “I think there are situations when some patients have to take responsi- bility for themselves. Mr Dewani is not going to wake up one day and say: ‘I am ready to do this.’ He needs to be edged towards it.
“I think sometimes pushing patients into more difficult things may actually be in their interests. It could well be that in six months or a year’s time we have exactly the same position.” De Kock confirmed that Dewani’s legal team had offered a voluntary return in a letter to the Western Cape authorities earlier this year, but it was rejected.
He said: “There was a request sent to us but I can’t discuss it, it has to remain confidential but that does not rule out further investigation. We felt it was inappropriate to consider it while these proceedings are continuing.”
It is understood that the offer was subject to a number of conditions, including Dewani attending a private psychiatric clinic in Cape Town.
After Riddle announced the date of his decision, Anni’s family gave a brief comment on the steps of the court. Her uncle Ashok, with Anni’s father Vinod by his side, said: “The battle still goes on. On July 24th we will hear from Judge Riddle again, and we just hope we will get closure for our daughter. We miss her a lot.”