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THE case of honeymoon murder accused Shrien Dewani has taken another twist, with British media reporting yesterday that a new forensic investigation has revealed his wife Anni was shot “by accident”.
According to the UK press, a new documentary, to be screened by the BBC’s Panorama programme, raises questions about the South African murder investigation and reveals how ballistics experts have discovered new evidence that could transform the case.
The experts claim the bullet may have rebounded off victim Anni’s hand through her chest by accident “during a struggle”.
Dewani is accused of orchestrating the murder of his wife, Anni, while the couple were on honeymoon in Cape Town in November 2010, and is engaged in a lengthy legal battle to avoid extradition to South Africa.
Three South African men have already been jailed for the crime.
Last month, Dewani launched an attempt to take his case to the Supreme Court after a UK judge ruled he should be extradited.
UK media, including the Daily Mail and The Daily Mirror, reported that Dewani could potentially be freed without charge if the latest revelations hold up.
A spokesman for the National Prosecuting Authority in the Western Cape, Eric Ntabazalila, said they were aware of the claims made in the documentary, but would not comment on them.
“We cannot discuss the merits of the case while the matter is before the court. The case will be heard in court and dealt with accordingly.”
And the documentary has angered Anni’s family, with her uncle, Ashok Hindocha, accusing the BBC of interfering in the justice system.
Hindocha told the British press: “I don’t think a public service company should go into a case which hasn’t been tried in a court yet. The trial should not be conducted in a TV studio – it should be in the courts.”
But a BBC spokesman responded by saying that “Panorama strongly believes it is in the public interest for these matters to be aired”.
The SAPS case is built around evidence that Dewani hired hitmen to kill his new bride while the couple were honeymooning.
But the businessman maintains he was forced from a taxi by hijackers. His wife was found dead in the abandoned vehicle the next day.
The documentary could alter aspects of the case dramatically. Firearms experts at the Forensic Firearms Consultancy in London said they were commissioned to review the evidence, which apparently shows the bullet may have hit 28-year-old Anni by accident.
A source from the ballistics team said that, after a second look at the documents, “the evidence would appear to support the theory that Mrs Dewani was shot during a struggle”.
Questions have also been raised over Dewani’s role in the scandal after a review of the initial police interviews found the Briton was not mentioned, the Daily Mirror reported.
The documentary, to be screened this Thursday, further suggests Dewani was embroiled in the case by the taxi driver Zola Tongo in a bid to get a lighter sentence.
The British press believe it is a dramatic twist that could mean freedom for Dewani, who is in a psychiatric hospital in Bristol while he fights extradition.
Tongo and gunmen Xolile Mngeni and Mziwamadoda Qwabe have all been jailed. – Daily Mail