2 minute read
6 Oct 2014
10:02 am

Media jostle ahead of Shrien Dewani trial

Members of the media jostled for space inside the Western Cape High Court on Monday ahead of British businessman Shrien Dewani's trial for the murder of his wife Anni.

The media waiting at the Shrien Dewani trial. Picture: Amanda Watson

A pack of around 25 photographers and videographers pushed each other to get a space in the queue outside court room two.

At 9am, it was expected that the group would be let in to take photographs of Dewani for 15 minutes.

At one stage, it had been announced that only two photographers, one local and one foreign, would be let in to take photos as part of a pool arrangement.

Local and foreign journalists also butted heads with members of the office of the chief justice as they tried to wedge themselves into the photography group.

They were politely, and repeatedly, told to wait in a special holding room or to sit on benches in the passageway.

The trial is set to start at 10am and it is expected that Dewani will plead to the five charges against him.

Dewani is charged with conspiracy to commit kidnapping, robbery with aggravating circumstances, murder, kidnapping, and defeating the ends of justice.

Initially seen as a hijacking that ended in tragedy on Saturday night November 13, 2010, the incident took a darker turn when police claimed they had evidence that Dewani conspired with others to kill Anni.

Dewani claims the couple were hijacked as they were being driven through Gugulethu in a minibus taxi. He was released unharmed but Anni was driven away. She was found shot dead in the abandoned minibus on Sunday, November 14.

A series of delays played out over the next four years, punctuated by efforts to extradite Dewani to South Africa and consistent claims by his defence that he was innocent, and mentally unfit to stand trial.

In the same period, three Capetonians stood trial for the murder and were jailed.

Driver Zola Tongo said in a plea bargain – following which he was jailed for 18 years – that Dewani had offered him R15,000 to have Anni Killed.

Accomplices Mziwamadoda Qwabe, and Xolile Mngeni – who shot Anni – were handed a 25-year and life sentence respectively.

Dewani was eventually extradited in April this year and sent to Valkenberg Psychiatric Hospital. In mid-August, he was declared fit to stand trial after undergoing psychiatric observation.

He will remain at the hospital for the duration of the trial.

Speaking at a press conference in Cape Town on Sunday evening, Anni Dewani’s father Vinod Hindocha said the family wanted to know the truth about her death.

“Now that I am here all that I ask for is the full story and justice. It is now up to the South African justice system to obtain the full story of how my little daughter died.”

Sapa

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