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Dewani: bid for lawyer records dropped

Cape Town - A legal bid to gain access to phone records of the lawyer of one of the men who had a role in newlywed Anni Dewani’s murder has been withdrawn.

The lawyer, William da Grass, said he had been told by fax that the subpoena had been withdrawn.

Shrien Dewani leaves the Cape High Court and will stand trial on October 6 for the murder of his wife. File picture: Brenton Geach. Credit: Independent Newspapers

According to media reports, Anni’s husband, British businessman Shrien Dewani – extradited in April and since found fit to stand trial – went to court in a bid to compel Da Grass to hand over cellphone and landline records from November 14 to November 30, 2010.

Da Grass represented Zola Tongo, who entered into a plea agreement about a month after Anni was killed on November 13, 2010. Tongo is serving 18 years.

His concern had been attorney-client privilege, Da Grass said. Only his client could waive this.

A lawyer for Dewani declined to comment.

Dewani, who is accused of orchestrating his bride’s murder, appeared in the Western Cape High Court on Friday.

A report by the panel of experts who observed Dewani in Valkenberg psychiatric hospital, where he is being held, was handed up.

The panel concluded that Dewani was not mentally ill, was not “certifiable” in terms of the Mental Health Care Act and was fit to stand trial.

“He was often tearful, mostly distressed, and complained of experiencing panic attacks. No symptoms suggestive of clinical depression were evident,” said the report, dated Agust 11.

It also told how Dewani “took to bed” one week after his wife’s funeral. “He was experiencing ‘flashbacks’ and nightmares of the events of the alleged offence.”

The defence did not dispute the panel’s findings.

The trial is to begin on October 6.

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