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Cape Town -
The alleged killer of honeymooner Anni Dewani could not have been the man who shot her because he had an injured hand, the Western Cape High Court heard on Wednesday.
Xolile Mngeni suffered an injury to his left hand in 2009 and was hospitalised for a lengthy period, his lawyer Qalisile Dayimani said.
Dayimani was questioning Mziwamadoda Qwabe, who has already been convicted of the murder.
“My instructions are that he did not use his left hand properly... He would not have been able to operate a firearm Ä the one you alleged to have handed him.”
Qwabe said he had seen Mngeni with his arm in a cast at some point, but that he could not remember if “it was his left hand or his right hand”.
It was his belief that Mngeni could use both hands at the time Dewani was killed.
Mngeni has pleaded not guilty to charges of kidnapping, robbery with aggravating circumstances, murder, and illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition.
Anni and her husband Shrien were on honeymoon in Cape Town on November 13 2010, when she was shot dead in an apparent hijacking.
Dayimani suggested that it would take a certain degree of force to prepare a firearm for firing.
He asked Qwabe if the gun was loaded when he handed it to Mngeni just before the hijacking.
“It had been loaded, yes. It had bullets in the cartridge. I don't recall if there were bullets in the chamber,” Qwabe replied.
He revealed during cross-examination that he had previously let Mngeni use his firearm.
“I don't know what he was going to use it for, but he did borrow it on occasions.”
Judge Robert Henney intervened and asked the defence whether they were certain they wanted to continue with this line of questioning, as it might place them in an awkward position. He was also not sure whether Mngeni's other alleged involvement in possible crimes was relevant to the trial.
Dayimani changed his line of questioning.
He put it to Qwabe that his testimony was different to that of shuttle driver Zola Tongo, who confessed to his role in the crime in return for an 18-year jail term.
The lawyer said Tongo's plea bargain statement mentioned two men with guns who approached his vehicle.
Qwabe said he did not agree with Tongo. Only Mngeni had possessed a firearm, he said.
Tongo had also mentioned that he was pushed from the driver's seat into the front passenger seat, the lawyer said.
Qwabe said this was not true. He had driven the vehicle, Mngeni had sat next to him, and Tongo had sat in the backseat with the Dewanis.
There had been no changing of places at any time, he testified.
The trial continues on Thursday. - Sapa