Shrien Dewani walks free
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UK businessman Shrien Dewani has been discharged on a count of murdering his wife Anni while on honeymoon in South Africa.
Deputy Judge President Jeanette Traverso granted an application for a discharge in the Western Cape High Court today.
“I make the following order... the application is granted. The accused is found not guilty on this charge.”
"There is no evidence on which a reasonable man can convict the accused," she said.
She said the only reason not to grant the application would be out of hope that the accused would implicate himself if he took the witness stand.
Dewani walked out of the dock and down the stairs to the holding cell without any expression on his face.
His family burst into tears at the news.
Traverso said the only possible reason to have refused his application was for the hope that he would implicate himself during evidence, which would be an injustice.
After a lengthy and costly extradition process, Dewani went on trial in October for allegedly plotting with Tongo and others to kill his wife Anni while they were on honeymoon in Cape Town in November 2010.
He has pleaded not guilty to charges including kidnapping, murder and defeating the ends of justice. He claims the couple was hijacked while Tongo drove them through Gugulethu in his minibus on Saturday, November 13, 2010.
He was released unharmed and Anni was driven away. She was found shot dead in the abandoned minibus in Khayelitsha the next morning.
The State alleges he conspired with others to stage the hijacking, for which he paid R15,000. Dewani maintains Tongo helped him organise a surprise helicopter trip for Anni for R15,000.
Tongo is serving an 18-year jail term and Qwabe a 25-year jail term.
Xolile Mngeni was serving life in jail for firing the shot that killed Anni, but died in prison from a brain tumour on October 18.
To do so would be a “manifest misdirection”, said Traverso.