Dewani charms staff, patients at Valkenberg

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IOL cz dewani2011 -feb.JPG AP Shrien Dewani is to appear in court again on May 12.

Cape Town - Fourteen square metres. That’s the size of the single room Shrien Dewani calls home at Valkenberg Psychiatric Hospital, about a 15-minute drive from central Cape Town but ensconced in the Liesbeeck River green belt.

The simple but clean room has a single bed and cupboard, a far cry from the luxury of being flown to South Africa aboard a chartered private jet at a cost of R3 million.

Yet Dewani seems content, a source says, describing his demeanour on arrival at the hospital on Tuesday as friendly.

He smiled, joked and even commented on the hot weather in Cape Town.

So charmed were the staff and patients in his section, who have chatted to him around the vinyl-covered table in the courtyard, that within three days they appeared smitten.

Dewani

is under 24-hour police guard in the psychiatric hospital.

It is only as a result of his medical condition that he is being detained there rather than the awaiting-trial section of a Western Cape prison.

For the past few days, police and the Justice and Health departments have had daily meetings.

It is believed Dewani’s first visit was from the British High Commission on Wednesday.

He was supposed to be detained in the sick bay of Goodwood Prison, in terms of an agreement between Britain and South Africa.

However, that agreement was superseded by one the two countries reached in 2011 sending Dewani to Valkenberg instead.

In terms of the Mental Health Care Act, the court remanded him to the hospital on Tuesday.

He is in the maximum security section.

Psychiatrists will assess Dewani to determine if he is fit to stand trial.

On Monday he was taken from Fromeside Hospital in the UK, a secure mental health unit, to Bristol Airport, and was met by South African authorities.

He boarded a chartered flight, accompanied by a nurse, medical doctor and police officials, and arrived in Cape Town on Tuesday morning, when he was escorted to the Western Cape High Court.

There he was formally charged with the November 2010 murder of his wife Anni, before appearing before Cape Judge President John Hlophe.

He appeared bewildered and confused in the dock, uttering only “yes” when Judge Hlophe asked if he was able to hear what was being said.

He was immaculately dressed in a black suit, black tie and white shirt, attracting comments about his handsome looks and elegance.

Seated in the bench directly in front of the dock were his brother, sister and parents, along with members of the British High Commission.

Dewani is to appear in court again on May 12.

Weekend Argus



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