The state is reported to have filed opposing papers to the application by British businessman, Shrien Dewani to have the case against him thrown out. The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) confirmed that on Friday they filed their response to the Dewani team’s heads of arguments, Advocate Francois van Zyl. Van Zyl had intimated on Monday that his team would be making an application to the Deputy Judge President, Jeanette Traverso to have the cases against Dewani struck off. This, he said, was in terms of section 174 of the Criminal Procedure Act. This section states that if, at the close of the prosecution’s case, the court believes that there is not enough evidence that has been revealed to show that the accused committed the offence, a verdict of not guilty may be returned by that court.
Shrien Dewani is on trial for plotting to kill his new bride, Anni Dewani, whose maiden name was Hindocha, in 2010 when they were on honeymoon in South Africa. It is all edged that he plotted with taxi driver, Zola Tongo. Tongo is currently serving an eighteen year jail term for the crime and has, together with Mziwamadoda Qwabe who is also in for 25 years, turned state witnesses. Xolile Mngeni who is said to have pulled the trigger and was handed a life sentence, died in prison after succumbing to a brain tumor last month. In their evidence, they claim that, with the help of Tongo, Shrien organised the murder of his newly wedded wife.
Shrien claims that he had contracted Zola Tongo to drive him and his wife around Cape Town when they were hijacked on the 13th of November 2010. He claims that the two hijackers, Mngeni and Qwabe kidnapped his wife when they released him. Anni was later found in the abandoned car, having been shot, apparently by Mngeni.
Despite the protracted process of extraditing Dewani from Britain which took about three years and the ‘tight case’ that the prosecution had hinted at, the case seems to have fallen apart as most of the evidence they had was ruled not admissible in court apparently because of bungling by the investigating officers. This led to the defence team making the application to have the case thrown out, which the NPA lodged papers to oppose on Friday.
In her response to the two applications, Deputy Judge President, Jeanette Traverso said the debate would tentatively be heard on Monday if she managed to study the heads of arguments of both parties.