Wednesday, Nov 26th 2014
EXCLUSIVE 'We want to hear the truth in your own words': Anni's family begs Dewani to take the stand as judge says she will decide whether to throw out murder charge on December 8
British businessman appears confident case against him will be dismissed
His lawyers have urged judge to dismiss trial before he takes witness box
Anni's uncle says her family want to hear Dewani's version for themselves
He said: 'If he feels he doesn't owe it to us, he certainly owes it to his wife'
By Shekhar Bhatia and Jane Flanagan In Cape Town for MailOnline
Published: 08:51, 25 November 2014 | Updated: 13:55, 25 November 2014 The family of Anni Dewani today pleaded with her murder-accused husband to take the witness stand to answer the allegations against him.
Shrien Dewani is said to have already packed his bags in preparation for his acquittal by a judge and is hoping the case against him will be dismissed without having to register a defence.
But Anni's uncle, Ashok Hindocha, said the family wants to hear his version of events for themselves.
It came as prosecutors pressed their case for the trial to continue, arguing that Dewani repeatedly lied about his contact with the man he allegedly hired to kill his wife and blamed her for wanting them to tour a dangerous township on the night of her murder.
Prosecutor Adrian Mopp also insisted the men who planned the murder were not 'the A-team of contract killers'.
The case was adjourned until Monday, December 8, when the judge will give her ruling.
Anni Dewani's father Vinod Hindocha arrives at the Western Cape High Court in Cape Town where Shrien Dewani's lawyers are appealing to the judge to dismiss the murder charges against him
'All along, that's the only thing we have wanted and if he really loved Anni, as he claims he did, he should want to do that.
'We believe the best way for him to do this is to go into the witness box and tell the court what happened. We want to hear it in his own words.
'We have waited four years for this to happen and it would not be right if he does not do it.'
Dewani's parents Prakash (right) and Snila Dewani (centre) arrive at the high court in Cape Town
He added: 'Anni's death put an enormous strain on my family and the prolonged extradition case was almost unbearable.
'We have learned to be patient in the knowledge that the court in Cape Town would examine every bit of evidence. The time for that is now.
'We, as a family of somebody who was so cruelly taken from us, expect to hear what he has to say as it has been four very long and difficult years.
'I believe Shrien's own version of events is crucial for us to get closure. If he feels he doesn't owe it to us, then he certainly owes it to his wife.
'There have been many statements given and we know what the other three accused had to say.
'We need to hear Shrien's version in the court too.
'He has admitted that he had been having sex with gay prostitutes through his lawyers and that was a shock to us.
'But we, as her family, desperately need Shrien to go through the events of her murder so that the whole story is told fully and no questions are left unanswered.'
Dewani family depart court as Shrien denies conspiring to murder
Arguing that the case should not be thrown out, prosecutor Adrian Mopp told the Western Cape High Court in South Africa today that the men who planned the honeymoon murder were not 'the A-team of contract killers'.
In an often-impassioned argument against Dewani's application to be cleared of all charges, the court was also told how he had lied repeatedly about his contact with the man he allegedly hired to kill his wife and blamed her for wanting them to tour a dangerous township on the night of her murder.
In a bundle of arguments against throwing out the case against the wealthy care home owner, the state claimed he repeatedly gave 'falsehoods' in answer to questions from the police, his own family and the family of his murdered wife.
Dewani told four separate policemen that it was his wife, Anni, who had wanted to visit Gugulethu on the night of her death.
'This court is asked to believe that it is completely fortuitous that the deceased asked to see the nightlife in the township at the very same time that Qwabe and Mngeni were lying in wait to murder her,' South African prosecutors argued in their 67-page bundle.
'High spirits': Dewani was pictured yesterday smiling and joking as he moved boxes apparently in preparation for his return to the UKWHAT IS DEWANI CHARGED WITH?
1. The accused is charged with the following offences:
1.1. conspiracy to commit the offences of kidnapping, robbery with aggravating circumstances and murder (count 1);
1.2. kidnapping (count 2);
1.3. robbery with aggravating circumstances (count 3);
1.4. murder (count 4);
1.5. obstructing the administration of justice (count 5).
2. In count 1 it is specifically alleged that the accused conspired with Zola Tongo, Mziwamadoda Qwabe and Xolile Mngeni to commit the alleged offences:
'... by entering into an agreement with Tongo, in terms of which Tongo would procure the services of a person or persons to do one or more or all of the following:
2.1. simulate a hi-jacking of Tongo's motor vehicle;
2.2. simulate a kidnapping and robbery of Tongo and the accused; and/or
2.3. effect the kidnapping, robbery and murder of the deceased, Anni Dewani,
... and in that, according to the conspiracy agreement, the accused would provide payment to the perpetrators as well as to Tongo for the kidnapping, robbery and murder of the deceased, Anni Dewani'.
3. In counts 2, 3 and 4 it is alleged that the accused, Tongo, Qwabe and Mngeni acted in the furtherance of a common purpose to kidnap the deceased (count 2), to rob the deceased (count 3) and to kill the deceased (count 4).
4. Monde Mbolombo ('Mbolombo') is not alleged to have been part of the conspiracy to commit the offences or to have acted with the others in the furtherance of a common purpose to kidnap, rob or kill the deceased. His alleged role is limited to what is described in the summary of substantial facts as follows:
'Pursuant to the accused's request, on the same day Tongo contacted a friend of his Monde Mbolombo, who put him in touch with Mzimadoda Qwabe.'
5. It follows that it is crucial for the State's case to prove that the accused entered into the alleged conspiracy agreement with Tongo. Failing such proof, the accused cannot be convicted on any of the first four counts against him and accordingly also not on the fifth count.
Dewani also lied about his private meetings with Tongo, denying that the two men had spoken again after the driver had dropped them off at the hotel during their Cape Town leg of their honeymoon.
CCTV footage reveals that Dewani spent more than ten minutes chatting to Tongo after he and his bride of two weeks had checked in – something he omitted to tell his family, even when he was specifically asked.
The state's argument quoted from a meeting that was secretly recorded by a cousin of the dead engineer who had become suspicious of Dewani's behaviour in the aftermath of his wife's death.
The recording is evidence before the court and prosecutors quoted Dewani blatantly misleading his own brother, Preyen.
PREYEN: So this guy, you haven't spoken to him [Tongo] again that night [after being dropped off on Friday 12 November]
SHRIEN: No uh, uh, Zola we'd uh, he left us, when he dropped us at six and that was it. Yeah!'
He also omitted to tell the meeting - which had been called to smooth tensions over between the families of Dewani and his dead bride - that he had seen Tongo on the following afternoon, when the driver took him to a black market money changer – allegedly to get the cash to pay for the 'hit' on his wife.
Instead, Dewani claimed that he had not seen Tongo until he picked the newlyweds up to take them out later that evening for their last fateful dinner - which, if true, would not have given the men sufficiently opportunity to plot a murder.
Such 'falsehoods' could not be explained away, since the court had yet to hear any reason for Dewani's varying explanations, prosecuting authorities claimed.
Earlier, Mr Mopp admitted to the court that the conspiracy to kill Mrs Dewani had been chaotic, hastily-planned and almost 'comical, if it were not for the tragic consequences that flowed from it'.
He asked the court 'not expect a level of sophistication' from Tongo, and hitmen Xolile Mngeni and Mziwamadoda Qwabe, who were 'desperate' to make 'easy money' from a contract killing of a woman.
'We aren't dealing with an A-Team of contract killers,' Mr Mopp told the Western Cape High Court.
'They could barely organise transport from Khayelitsha to Gugulethu. We are dealing with an amateurish attempt.
'If it were not for the killing of the deceased, it would actually be comical, the manner in which this matter was set about.'
Throughout the prosecutor's speech to the court, Dewani remained animated – often glancing towards the press benches to see how reporters were responding to the arguments.
Occasionally, he mouthed his own commentary, and made exaggerated expressions of incredulity.
'Really?' he mimed, ' no way' he mouthed later, shaking his head wildly as Mr Mopp's told Judge Jeanette Traverso that the murder plan may have been haphazard in its organisation, but it didn't mean that it was beyond the realms of possibility.
Dewani's brother, who is an Oxford law graduate and has sat behind the defence team for every day of the six week trial, chewed gum and openly smirked as Mr Mopp was forced to concede that even basic details of the murder plot, which the state claims was masterminded by Dewani, had not been thrashed out.
His sister Preyal, who has also been in court every day, sat in her usual place next to her mother, Snila, leaning forward listening to every word of the state's argument.
Yesterday, Dewani's lawyer launched a blistering attack on the prosecution case that he masterminded a plot to have his Swedish bride kidnapped and murdered on their honeymoon in an application to have all charges against him dismissed.
However, even if the judge rules that there is a case for Dewani to answer, it seems increasingly likely that the wealthy businessman will eventually be freed to return to Britain, without ever facing tough questions in the witness box.
His lawyers may well choose not to offer any evidence and still be confident of having Dewani acquitted.
The state's case against him appears to be sufficiently threadbare - following a string of successful applications by the defence to have some testimony excluded - to secure his acquittal without the need to mount a defence of five charges, including murder and robbery.
Dewani is charged with five counts relating to the kidnapping and murder of his wife of two weeks, Anni, (pictured) in a carjacking during their honeymoon to Cape Town in November 2010
Francois van Zyl reminded the court that it was not the job of the defence to prove his client's innocence, but for the state to make a case against him.
Dewani has changed his story about the events leading up to his wife's murder, in November 2010, on a number of occasions – in statements to police and media interviews.
'Even if the accused is a poor witness, the court cannot use that as credible evidence,' Mr van Zyl conceded yesterday.
By the end of yesterday's court session, the frequent interjections of the judge suggested she was open to the defence's view that evidence about the plot to kidnap and kill Mrs Dewani had failed to establish that her new husband was behind it.
'Yes, there was a hijack. Yes, Anni was shot. But there is no evidence Shrien Dewani was involved,' Francois van Zyl had told the Western Cape High Court.
In a 167-page bundle of arguments in favour of throwing out the case against his client, Mr van Zyl honed in on the testimony of the state's star witness – Zola Tongo, the taxi driver who claims he was hired by Dewani to organise the murder.
Since he was the only one of the killers who spoke directly to Dewani, the strength of the state's case rested on Tongo's reliability as a witness.
Putting aside the many inconsistencies between Tongo's various statements to police and evidence to the court, the fact that he agreed to organise a murder at the request of a complete stranger was one of 'many improbabilities' on which the case against Dewani is built.
Dewani is applying for his trial to be halted without needing to mount a defence on the grounds that the six week trial has presented 'no evidence on which a reasonable court, acting carefully, might convict.'
If the judge grants his application, the wealthy businessman would be cleared on all charges and allowed to return to Britain as a free man – perhaps by the end of this week.http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2848459/EXCLUSIVE-Tell-truth-Shrien-want-hear-words-Anni-Dewani-s-family-begs-husband-stand-bids-murder-charge-thrown-out.html