Shrien Dewani: The Law, The Township And The Spin
SHRIEN Dewani: Anorak’s at-a-glance look at the murder of Anni Dewani in the news. Mr Dewani is suspected of plotting the murder of his wife in South Africa.
The judge at City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court had released him on a £250,000 bail.
(This is murder – so the bail is granted. Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, also part of an ongoing extradition process, was not granted bail. He and Dewani both surrendered freely to police.)
But Dewani’s bail was rescinded when the South African government lodged appeal documents.
Clare Montgomery QC, counsel for Mr Dewani, did her best to make the murder allegation sound outlandish, deploying such words as “fanciful” and “unthinkable”. Why would a grammar school boy of good character, trained in one of the big accountancy firms, do such a thing? And how did he arrange it within the space of an hour with a taxi driver he had just met?
“The factual difference is stark,” said Howard Riddle, the presiding magistrate. “Either Mr Dewani over a period of a time plotted the murder of his wife or he is one of the tragic victims of this incident.”
Ben Watson, for the South African Government, tell of words with Zola Tongo:
Mr Watson went on: “He also said he got the impression that the man had been in South Africa before and also that he had done something like this before as he said he wanted the murder to look like a hijacking and he said that he had previously arranged for someone to be killed in a fake hijacking in South Africa.”
What says the law?
Senior District Judge Howard Riddle said: “Either Mr Dewani over a period of time plotted the murder of his wife or he is one of the tragic victims of this incident.
“It’s clear here is evidence that as been put before me and on the face of it, and I put it no higher than that, evidence on which a trial could evidently proceed.”
Sky’s Paul Harrison considers the “largely circumstantial” evidence. It is said that Mr Dewani withdrew money from cashpoints in SA.
“All combined, that’s about 10,000 rand. They are alleging that’s the amount of money the hitmen received in payment and, I think, that’s why they are convinced that bail should not be allowed.”
Want to see the circumstantial evidence?
Eyewitness News has learnt that local police are to carefully study CCTV footage apparently showing British businessman Shrien Dewani and taxi driver Zola Tongo making some kind of monetary exchange.
Holidaymaker Angela Bartlett dined with the Dewanis days before Anni was murdered:
Angela said she had noticed that Anni was not really wearing the appropriate clothing for going on Safari. “She told me she didn’t know she was going to South Africa for her honeymoon until Shrien’s mother told her after the wedding, and she didn’t know how long she was staying.”
In South Africa, Michael Trapido is unimpressed:
Shrien Dewani, the British newlywed accused of conspiring to murder his wife Anni Dewani in a simulated hijacking, has better spin than the Aussie cricket team currently being thrashed in the Ashes and which has the media calling for the return of Shane Warne.
The murdered woman’s father Vinod Hindocha says:
“He and Anni were a normal, happy couple. I only met him once or twice before the marriage. Anni was taking care of everything. I met (Shrien) again at the hotel for their wedding”.
As a category two country the South Africans have prepared a preliminary case against Shrien Dewani (with more documentation from prosecutors to follow) and the extradition must be finally approved by the Home Secretary.
Says Max Clifford, Mr Dewani’s rep:
“These accusations came as a result of plea bargaining from a man who has admitted his part in the murder. You have to see it on that merit. I would like to know personally how much of a reduction in his sentence he got as part of his plea bargaining.”
Anni’s sister, Ami Denborg, says that if Shrien is guilty – and the speculation is rife – ‘‘then what he has done is unforgivable’‘.
South African Mandisa Fatyela-Lindie says:
Taxi driver Zola Tongo, who was allegedly offered R15000 by businessman Shrien Dewani as part of a plot to kill his wife Anni, was naive to think that the police and the Hawks would not succeed in investigating this matter. I pinned my hopes on these institutions. Everybody who lives in Gugs (as it is fondly referred to) knows that the tourist attraction there, Mzoli, closes early. If the stories in the media are true about the reason to visit the township — that Anni wanted to have a township experience — I do not know of any other dancing place at night in the township.