Shrien Dewani, the British businessman who was on trial in The Western Cape High Court in Cape Town for arranging hit men to kill his newly wedded wife in November, 2010 was acquitted of the charges by the presiding judge on Monday.
According to the Deputy Judge President, Jeannette Traverso, the evidence that had been presented by the prosecution in the case fell short of the threshold for the required level of evidence in a murder trial. In her judgement, Traverso said that there was no evidence on which the accused could be reasonably convicted. She added that it was regrettable that many unanswered questions remained about what happened on the day Anni was shot.
Judge Traverso said that she had taken into account the three witnesses that has been presented by the state. She said she did not believe that they could have committed the crime for the amounts that had been stated. Traverso said that there was a possibility that they may have twisted their versions to implicate Dewani. Responding to the call by members of the public that she was biased, she said that she could not allow public opinion to sway her in making her judgement, adding that if public opinion was allowed to influence judgements, there would be anarchy in the country.
Responding to the judgement, the National Prosecuting Authority(NPA) said that they respected the court’s judgement and that while they had hoped to get a conviction, they were aware that when taking a case to court, one could get either a conviction or an acquittal. The NPA is the one that has been at the centre of Dewani’s extradition for the past four years. Shrien Dewani fought viciously to stay in the United Kingdom and when his fight came apart, he had no choice but to come and face the music. NPA’s Nathi Mncube confirmed that they had accepted and respected the court’s ruling and preliminary indications are that they will not be appealing the judgement.
While Shrien and his family quickly left the court after the judgement was passed without comment, the family of his deceased wife, Anni Hindocha had a lot to say about the ruling. Her sister, Ami Denborg said they felt let down by the justice system. She added that, after waiting for four years, her family had been disappointed by the judgement. She said the fact that they would never know what happened when Anni was killed would haunt them for the rest of their lives. She went on to thank members of the public who had supported them.