independent

Saturday 19 April 2014

Honeymoon murder suspect to be extradited to South Africa

THE British honeymoon murder suspect Shrien Dewani moved a step closer to facing charges in a South African court over his wife's death, after losing a lengthy extradition battle.

His lawyers have said they intend to appeal the decision.

 

Mr Dewani, from Bristol, is accused of organising the killing of his 28-year-old wife Anni. She was shot as the newly married couple took a taxi ride on the outskirts of Cape Town in November 2010.

 

So far three men have been convicted over the killing.

 

Taxi driver Zola Tongo was jailed for 18 years after he admitted his part in the killing, and another accomplice, Mziwamadoda Qwabe, got 25 years after pleading guilty to murder.

 

Last year South African Xolile Mngeni was convicted of premeditated murder for shooting her. Prosecutors claimed that he was a hitman hired by Dewani to kill his wife, something that the 33-year-old has consistently denied.

 

Today, Chief Magistrate Howard Riddle told Westminster Magistrates' Court that Mr Dewani should return to the country, despite arguments from the businessman's defence team that he could suffer setbacks in his mental health if sent back now.

 

They argued that the decision should be delayed by six months.

 

Mrs Dewani's relatives were in court, wearing photographs of her pinned to their clothes, decorated with pink ribbons.

 

District Judge Riddle ruled in 2011 that Dewani should be extradited, but this was successfully appealed against and he was ordered to look again at the case.

 

Dewani's legal team gave no immediate indication whether they would seek to challenge the ruling in the Supreme Court.

 

District Judge Riddle said: “It is not in question that Shrien Dewani will be returned to South Africa. The treating clinicians continue to state that Mr Dewani will recover.

 

”There has been recovery, but it has been slow. It may be a long time before Mr Dewani is fit to plead, but he may be closer to that point.

 

“It is not impossible that if returned now, then after a reasonable period of further treatment and assessment he will be found fit to plead and a trial can take place.”

 

Dewani has undergone treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder and depression since his wife's death.

 

Anni Dewani's sister today said her family were satisfied with the decision, and said: “We will fight this battle to the end and this battle has just begun.”

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