‘Enough ev­i­dence to ex­tra­dite De­wani to South Africa’

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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.”

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