Shrien Dewani will not appear in court again until the 20th of May, as he has been declared unfit to stand trial for psychiatric reasons.
Shrien Dewani (34) has been accused of murdering his Swiss wife, Anni, whilst on honeymoon in Cape Town, South Africa. Mr and Mrs Dewani were allegedly hijacked by three armed men and driven around at gunpoint, after which Shrien was released unharmed, and the three men drove off with Anni. She was found dead in the abandoned car the following day, with three gunshot wounds to the back of the head.
Cape Town residents, Zola Tongo, Mziwamadoda Qwabe and Xolile Mngeni have already been arrested and convicted with regards to the murder. It is the South African state’s case, however, that Mr Dewani was in contact with the three men and arranged for the murder to take place.
The South African justice department fought a lengthy extradition battle to get Mr Dewani, a Bristol resident, to be returned to South Africa from the United Kingdom to face trial.
Returning murder-accused Shrien Dewani to South Africa was both a meticulous and costly process. “In the interest of transparency and accountability, the costs of transporting Mr Dewani from the Bristol Airport in the United Kingdom to Cape Town International Airport in South Africa is R2 905 574.31,” said the department’s spokesperson, Mthunzi Mhaga.
The reasons why the flight to Cape Town was such a costly one are due to the fact that a private jet had to be chartered, with a South African doctor, a nurse, and various SAPS and Interpol members all on board.
The decision was taken due to the fact that Dewani has undisputed suicidal tendencies and it is necessary to make sure that he is in a suitable condition for the trial to take place. Mr Dewani’s identity is now widely known and it is believed that on a commercial flight a security threat was posed, due to the close proximity to many civilians and thus the decision to fly him privately was taken.
Dewani’s lawyers argued this week that he was in need of psychiatric evaluation as he was unstable. He is currently in Valkenberg Hospital, in Cape Town where it has been said that his condition is stable, but he must still remain in the hospital’s custody for further evaluation.
With both this case and the infamous Oscar Pistorius trial taking place currently in South Africa, it will be interesting to see how the South African judicial system fares, considering the intense international scrutiny which it will be under pending the verdicts of these cases.