Is smiling Dewani now fit for trial?

Cape Town - Smiling broadly as he strolls in high-security hospital grounds, it appears honeymoon murder suspect Shrien Dewani may soon stand trial.

Shrien Dewani, accused of murdering his wife Anni, leaves the Western Cape High Court under police escort last month. File photo: Brenton Geach. Credit: INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS

Dressed in shorts, trainers and a sweatshirt and clutching a water bottle, the Briton seemed to share a joke with staff at the Valkenberg Hospital.

Dewani has been at the psychiatric hospital since his extradition from the UK in April, accused of masterminding his wife Anni’s murder in 2010.

He is being treated for depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. One onlooker said: “If you didn’t know who they were, they looked like three relaxed ordinary blokes.”

Dewani seemed in very different spirits from his last appearance earlier this month – during a hearing at the Western Cape’s High Court – when he stared forward in the dock, emotionless. The court heard his mental state has improved to the extent he could soon face trial.

His lawyer, Francois van Zyl, said Dewani “has been fully co-operative”, but added: “We have been told not to consult with him for more than 30 minutes at a time and even that has proved frustrating because of his lack of ability to concentrate.”

Judge President John Hlophe agreed Dewani should be treated at Valkenberg until June, when it is hoped a trial date will be set.

If he is not deemed fit for trial within 18 months of arrival, officials have agreed he can return to Britain. - Daily Mail