Shrien Dewani pre-trial hearing today


While the high-profile trial of Oscar Pistorius draws to a close this Thursday, another one is set to take centre stage as the pre-trial hearing of honeymoon murder-accused, British businessman  Shrien Dewani is to be held at the Western Cape High Court today (Tuesday).

A pre-trial conference means both parties – the prosecution and the defence, meet before the judge or magistrate to prepare for and expedite the matter and, in some instances, discuss a plea.

Last month, the Western Cape High Court heard that a mental health panel unanimously found the Dewani fit to stand trial and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) who managed to have Dewani extradited from the UK, said it expected the trial to begin on October 6 and to take two months.

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

The State alleges he acted in common purpose, conspired with and paid Cape Town residents Zola Tongo, Mziwamadoda Qwabe and Xolile Mngeni to kill his wife during the couple’s honeymoon in November 2010.

Tongo, Qwabe and Mngeni are already serving jail terms for the murder – and Dewani has not yet been asked to plead.

He has insisted that he and his wife Anni were kidnapped at gunpoint as they drove through Gugulethu, Cape Town, in a minibus taxi during their fateful honeymoon. While he was released unharmed, Anni was shot dead and her body was found in the abandoned minibus the next day. 

Photo caption: COULD HE HAVE MASTERMINDED IT? That could be the question on every one's mind as the Dewani case resumes today.Image: TheGuardian.