Dewani pre-trial postponed

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may 11 anni AP Murder victim Anni Dewani


The pre-trial conference of two men accused of murdering honeymooner Anni Dewani was postponed yet again in the Western Cape High Court on Friday.

Judge Andre le Grange ordered that Xolile Mngeni and Mziwamadoda Qwabe appear next Friday, to give Qwabe's new lawyer Ken Klopper adequate time to receive instructions.

The matter was previously postponed on April 20 as Qwabe said he could no longer afford his advocate Thabo Nogemane and needed to apply for Legal Aid.

Mngeni's lawyer, Matthews Dayimani, was absent from court as he was stuck in traffic. Le Grange proceeded without him. Dayimani had previously told the court his client was not psychologically fit to stand trial because of a brain tumour.

Mngeni looked thin and trembled slightly.

Le Grange asked if there was not a third accused who should be on the court roll, referring to Anni's husband, British businessman Shrien Dewani.

He was told the State would only add him as an accused once he was mentally fit. The trial was set down for July 30.

Anni, 28, was shot dead in an apparent car hijacking while she and her husband were on honeymoon in Cape Town in November 2010.

An order for Dewani's extradition was signed by the UK secretary of state in September 2011, but Britain's High Court temporarily halted the extradition on mental health grounds, saying it would be “unjust and oppressive”.

He would be extradited to South Africa as soon as he was fit. Dewani is being treated in a mental health hospital in his hometown of Bristol, western England.

Mngeni and Qwabe face charges of kidnapping, robbery with aggravating circumstances, murder, and two counts relating to the illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition.

They would remain in custody. – Sapa

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