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Parents, siblings support Dewani in court

2014-08-15 10:43
Cape Town - British businessman Shrien Dewani was supported by his parents and siblings in the Western Cape High Court where it was heard that a panel of experts ruled him fit to stand trial for his wife's murder.

"The accused is not mentally ill. The accused is not certifiable in terms of the Mental Health Act," Director of Public Prosecutions Rodney de Kock said.

Dewani's lawyer Francois van Zyl said the mental health panel made a unanimous decision, including Professor Tuviah Zabow, who was appointed by the court as a psychiatrist for Dewani.

"We are in agreement. There is no objection," Van Zyl said.

Dewani would go on trial on 6 October. He would appear in court again on 9 September for a formal pre-trial hearing.

De Kock brought an application in June for Dewani's mental health to be officially observed in terms of the Criminal Procedure Act.

On honeymoon

At the time, he said observation was necessary as the mental health report prepared by Valkenberg psychiatrist Dr Sean Baumann differed in its opinion to that of Zabow.

According to the indictment previously handed to the court he is charged with conspiracy to commit kidnapping, robbery with aggravating circumstances, murder, kidnapping, and defeating the ends of justice.

It is the State's case that he acted in common purpose and conspired with Cape Town residents Zola Tongo, Mziwamadoda Qwabe, and Xolile Mngeni to kill his wife.

In return, the State alleges that Dewani would provide payment to the perpetrators.

Tongo, Qwabe, and Mngeni are already serving jail terms in connection with the murder.
Dewani has not yet been asked to plead.

Dewani claimed he and his wife were kidnapped at gunpoint as they drove through Gugulethu in Cape Town in a taxi in November 2010.

The couple had been on honeymoon in the country. He was released unharmed, but his wife's body was found in the abandoned car the next day. She had been shot dead.

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