Evidence against Dewani accused ‘precise, detailed’

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iol news 12 may SA PN dewani pic

AP

Xolile Mngeni is accused of taking part in the killing of Swedish woman Anni Dewani. File photo: AP

Cape Town - One of Anni Dewani's convicted killers presented credible evidence against his alleged accomplice, a Western Cape High Court judge said on Monday.

Judge Robert Henney said Mziwamadoda Qwabe's evidence against Xolile Mngeni, 25, was clear, precise, detailed and chronological.

He said Qwabe came across as intelligent and did not contradict himself on the stand.

Henney was reading his evaluation of evidence as part of Mngeni's 60-page judgment.

Mngeni has pleaded not guilty to hijacking, robbing and killing the tourist in Gugulethu, on November 13, 2010.

She was on honeymoon with her husband Shrien at the time.

Qwabe was sentenced for the crimes in terms of a plea agreement.

He testified that Mngeni helped him hijack the Dewanis and pulled the trigger on the honeymoon bride.

His testimony was the only direct evidence presented in court.

Henney said the evidence of alleged accomplices, like Qwabe, had to be treated with caution and backed up with evidence by other witnesses.

The State called 26 witnesses in total to strengthen its case.

“Much of Qwabe's evidence was corroborated by other witnesses and other evidence,” Henney concluded.

He said this was despite Qwabe not being a perfect witness, contradicting what he had said in his statement to police and what he had said on the stand.

“The contradictions are not of such significance that it affected credibility and consistency.”

The defence had pointed out that Qwabe originally pleaded not guilty to the murder, citing this as a reason he could not be trusted.

Qwabe explained on the stand that he did not think he was guilty of murder at that stage because he did not pull the trigger.

It was only later that he became aware of the concepts of common purpose and conspiracy to murder.

“In my view, that is a perfectly reasonable explanation considering that Qwabe is not schooled in law,” the judge said.

“Even lawyers sometimes get confused about common purpose.” - Sapa


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