Dewani accused ‘had no complaints’

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Xolile Mngeni DONE INLSA Xolile Mngeni. File photo: Tracey Adams

Cape Town - A man on trial for Anni Dewani's murder had no complaints on the day he made a statement to the police, the Western Cape High Court heard on Wednesday.

Sergeant Cathleen Williams said that when she booked Xolile Mngeni out of the Bellville police cells at about 7.30pm on November 16, 2010, to make a statement, he walked in front of her without any visible impediment.

She asked him a routine set of questions about his condition, and he replied that he had no problems or injuries.

She and a fellow officer then escorted him to the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigations building in AJ West street, Bellville.

Mngeni has pleaded not guilty to hijacking, robbing and killing Dewani in Gugulethu on November 13, 2010. She was on honeymoon with her husband Shrien at the time.

The court is hearing submissions in a trial-within-a-trial to determine whether the State can submit Mngeni's statement as a key piece of evidence. Mngeni's defence has objected to the admission.

Mngeni's lawyer Qalisile Dayimani said his client's rights to legal representation had been ignored, and that he was assaulted into making a statement.

The court heard on Wednesday that Mngeni apparently had his testicles slammed in a desk drawer while in police custody that day.

However, Williams testified that when she booked Mngeni back into the cells after making his statement, he confirmed again that he had no complaints.

Dayimani wanted to know if Mngeni's translator had told Williams that he had complained during the session about blacking out in the police cell.

“No. He didn't say anything,” she replied.

The defence previously told the court it had a problem with a video recording of Mngeni's statement.

It alluded to the recording possibly being doctored, as Mngeni had seen people walk in and out of the room at various times, but this was not shown.

Williams said she had sat in investigating officer Captain Paul Hendrikse's office on the fourth floor for about two hours while Mngeni was busy.

She said Hendrikse did not leave the office in this time. She did also not see investigator Lt-Col Mike Barkhuizen walk past the office.

She was asked whether she saw anyone enter or leave the confession room, about 10m away.

She replied that she had not, as her view was restricted by the office walls.

A new witness will be called to the stand on Thursday. - Sapa

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