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Cape Town - A man on trial for killing honeymoon tourist Anni Dewani is innocent, the Western Cape High Court heard on Wednesday.
Xolile Mngeni had been falsely implicated by State witness Mziwamadoda Qwabe, his lawyer Qalisile Dayimani told the court.
Qwabe is serving a 25-year jail sentence for his role in the murder.
Dayimani said Qwabe had good motive to lie about Mngeni's involvement in an alleged plot by Shrien Dewani to have his wife killed.
Anni was killed in an apparent hijacking in Gugulethu on November 13, 2010.
Mngeni has pleaded not guilty to charges of kidnapping, robbery with aggravating circumstances, murder, and illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition.
Dayimani put it to the court that Qwabe had become bitter when Mngeni implicated him in the crimes after he was arrested.
“I did not become bitter,” Qwabe replied.
When asked this earlier in the week, Qwabe admitted that he was bitter. The lawyer reminded him about his previous reply.
Qwabe then said: “I may have 1/8been bitter 3/8”.
Dayimani said Qwabe had everything to gain at the time by confessing to the crimes, in return for a lesser sentence or the chance to turn State witness.
The court was shown video footage of Qwabe before he planned to give a confession, as part of a plea agreement.
In it, Qwabe said that he had not been promised anything in return for confessing.
He did have a few expectations of the benefits it may bring, but his confession did not hinge on these benefits.
Qwabe was adamant that his statement accurately portrayed what had happened.
“I did not make the story up,” he said.
Dayimani said his client would maintain he and Qwabe had never been friends.
He would deny being in Qwabe's company when shuttle driver Zola Tongo had phoned them about a “job” to be done. He would maintain that he had not spoken to Qwabe on the phone between November 12 and November 14 that year.
“He had no knowledge of any discussions of a woman to be killed and/or the staging of a hijacking.... He will deny he received any monies from you or handed you any monies on November 13, 2010,” the lawyer said.
“After a brief encounter on Saturday afternoon, he never saw you until the next morning.”
Dayimani wrapped up his cross-examination and Qwabe was escorted back to the holding cells.
The lawyer could make an application on Monday morning, when the trial resumes, for access to documents he claims he has not received from the State.
The application would start an hour earlier, with a new State witness expected to be called at 10am. - Sapa