Wednesday 21 March 2018

South Africa willing to make hospital exception for honeymoon murder accused

Murder accused: Shrien Dewani. Photo: Getty Images
Murder accused: Shrien Dewani. Photo: Getty Images
Shrien Dewani and Anni Dewani ( right)

Margaret Davis

South African authorities would make "an exception" for honeymoon murder accused Shrien Dewani by allowing him mainstream mental health treatment instead of sending him to a forensic unit, a court heard today.

Psychiatrist Dr Ian Cumming told Westminster Magistrates' Court that he had visited the country and been reassured that the businessman would be admitted to a general ward at Valkenberg Hospital in Cape Town, rather than a unit where people are sent by the courts.

Dewani, 33, is accused of orchestrating the death of his 28-year-old wife Anni, who was shot as the couple travelled in a taxi on the outskirts of Cape Town in November 2010.

He is facing extradition to South Africa to face trial over her murder, in which he denies any involvement.

Dr Cumming said: "They were going to make an exception for Mr Dewani. He would probably be the first person that they would do that for."

Previously Dewani's lawyers have expressed concerns that he would be a high suicide risk if he returned to the country, and his human rights could be breached because of the risk of violent and sexual assaults in jail, and of contracting HIV or Aids.

The South African authorities have said that if he is found not to be mentally ill, he would be given a single cell in prison to reduce the risk of attack.

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