LONDON: Honeymoon murder suspect Shrien Dewani could be returned to South Africa within 28 days after he lost his latest and most important legal case against extradition here yesterday.
Dewani, 33, was not at the High Court to hear three judges dismiss an appeal against his return and reject an application to review the case at the Supreme Court, Britain’s highest court.
The decision effectively blocks any future legal moves in the UK, though Dewani could still appeal to the European Court of Human Rights. But that is a lengthy process and he could run out of time to lodge an application.
Dewani has spent nearly three years fighting extradition, launching several appeals in the magistrate’s court and London’s High Court, despite his representatives saying he was keen to return to South Africa to clear his name.
He is remanded in hospital in his home city of Bristol, where he is receiving treatment for depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. However, he is allowed to return home to his family on a regular basis.
Dewani, 33, has consistently denied involvement in the death of his new bride, Anni, 28, who was shot dead in the back of their taxi during a staged hijacking in Gugulethu in November 2010.
He is accused of orchestrating the crime for which three men have so far been convicted and imprisoned.
Western Cape prosecutors Rodney de Kock and Adrian Mopp were in court yesterday to hear the panel of judges headed by Lord Chief Justice Lord Thomas reject Dewani’s counsel’s application.
Dewani’s advocate, Mark Summers, told the court his client’s condition was “chronic” and incurable, which meant he could be ineligible for extradition.