Is Dewani guilty or not?
Written by Khaya James
Western Cape high court judge Jeannette Traverso is facing an unenviable and mammoth task, to rule whether British businessman Shrien Dewani should walk away as a free man or continue to face the music for allegedly conspiring to kill his Swedish wife Anni during their ill-fated honeymoon in Cape Town four years ago.
Dewani’s lawyers, led by senior counsel advocate Francois Van Zyl, have dropped a bombshell saying the state has failed to bring an iota of proof that his client secretly hired the late hit man Xolile Mngeni, Mziwamadoda Qwabe and the controversial taxi driver Zola Tonga, to kill Anni following the couple’s fairy-tale wedding in the Indian city of Mumbai.
Van Zyl says Dewani’s case must be thrown out of court as the state has failed dismally to show beyond reasonable doubt that the accused killed his wife, in a bid to continue with his hidden gay life. One of the state’s key witnesses Zola Tongo, who was allegedly approached by Dewani, got his killers to take Anni off the scene, and told the court recently that the British national had promised him about R5 000 to facilitate the shady deal.
The trial has seen a variety of witnesses so far taking the stand, from the Gaydar, a British based gay website expert, to a pawnshop owner based in Cape Town where Dewani and Tongo allegedly converted about $15 000 into Rands. Tongo told the court that the amount was meant to bankroll all the guys who played an instrumental role in killing Anni in Khayelitsha on November 13, 2010.
Dewani’s trial has also disappointed a lot people who were expecting it to trend on Twitter and other social media networks, just like Oscar Pistorius’s trial. In Cape Town, Judge Jeannatte Traverso has come across as a very old-fashioned judge who doesn’t allow or perhaps even give the media a leeway. Both local and international media have branded her as a principal, given the no-nonsense attitude, she has adopted.
On court 2, both Dewanis and Hindochas come religiously to each and every court hearing, perhaps to try and get closure to this incomprehensible trial. Recently, Anni’s family- the Hindochas marked their fourth year anniversary since their daughter was killed in the hands of brazen criminals, who were hell-bent in taking her soul in Khayelitsha.
But now the ball is on Judge Traverso’s court to make her mind up, assisted by her learned assessors. Dewani’s lawyers will use Section 174 of the Criminal Procedures Act to try and acquit Dewani. But if that bid fails, Shrien Prakash Dewani will have to testify himself and try to clear some cobwebs, which are still battling a lot of court reporters.
One thing is for sure, the National Prosecuting Authority will not let this matter slide, given the fact that the prosecutors have been rocked by several scandals and several cases withdrawn mysteriously. Now the question is, will Dewani walk away as a free man or will serve his sentence in South Africa away from Bristol his hometown in England?