Shrien Dewani trial: judge Jeanette Traverso selected....Shrien Dewani trial: judge Jeanette Traverso selected
Traverso was one of the first women to assume a leadership position within South African judiciary
LAST UPDATED AT 13:45 ON Mon 29 Sep 2014
A judge has been assigned to the trial of Shrien Dewani, the British businessman accused of murdering his wife while on honeymoon in South Africa.
Jeanette Traverso, the second most senior judge in the Western Cape, was selected to hear the trial at the Western Cape High Court from 6 October.
Traverso was one of the first women to assume a leadership position within the South African judiciary, reports IOL News. She was appointed to the Bench in South Africa in 1994, and in January 2001 became the first woman to be appointed deputy judge president.
Traverso, who by her own admission comes from a privileged Afrikaner background, once featured in a documentary called Courting Justice, about the lives of South African female judges, alongside Judge Thokozile Matilda Masipa, who convicted Oscar Pistorius of culpable homicide earlier this month.
Traverso also made headlines three years ago when she was accidentally hit by a golf cart by an advocate at the Royal Cape Golf Club. She punctured a lung, broke a "long list" of bones, from her pelvis to her shoulder, and had to be put into a medically induced coma.
With no juries in South Africa, it will be Traverso's job to determine whether Dewani ordered the murder of his 28-year-old wife, Anni, who was shot in Cape Town in 2010.
Dewani, who denies the charges against him, was extradited from the UK in April after being detained in a hospital for depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. He was deemed mentally fit to stand trial after undergoing a 30-day mental health evaluation, similar to that undertaken by Pistorius.
Three South African men – Zola Tongo, Mziwamadoda Qwabe and Xolile Mngeni – are all serving prison sentences for convictions relating to Anni's murder.
Shrien Dewani lawyers request phone records of jailed men
Defence lawyers for the British businessman accused of ordering his wife's murder on their honeymoon in South Africa have requested the phone records of two men already in jail over the killing.
Shrien Dewani, who faces charges of murder and kidnapping, was in court yesterday for a hearing ahead of his trial at Western Cape High Court, which is expected to last from 6 October until 12 December.
The 34-year-old, who has been receiving treatment at Valkenberg State Psychiatric Hospital in Cape Town, denies paying three men to kill his 28-year-old wife Anni Dewani in the city in November 2010.
The three men – Zola Tongo, Mziwamadoda Qwabe and Xolile Mngeni – are all serving prison sentences for convictions relating to the murder.
Judge Robert Henney yesterday ordered the Department of Correctional Services to hand over prison records related to Tongo and Qwabe and ordered Tongo's lawyer to hand over his client's phone records. These will provide a detailed account of billing but not the content of conversations.
Marianne Thamm at South Africa's Eyewitness News says the defence's request suggests Dewani might claim he was somehow set up by Tongo and another middle man.
Thamm says Dewani appeared "relaxed and focused" in the dock, a big change from his previous court appearances when he seemed "bewildered and excitable, flinching at the slightest noise in the court".
Last month, a mental health panel found that Dewani was fit to stand trial. According to the Daily Express, the report found no signs of clinical depression but said Dewani can suffer panic attacks. He reportedly engaged well with people and was often affable and articulate but could be tearful and also mentioned having panic attacks.
"During the observation period he managed to follow a demanding daily routine, which included extensive consultations with his legal representatives, clinical interviews and testing," wrote the panel. "He impressed as being of superior intelligence. He seems to have perfectionist personality traits with underlying anxiety." http://www.theweek.co.uk/crime/shrien-dewani/3997/shrien-dewani-fit-to-stand-trial-for-murder-what-next