Bristol

Shrien Dewani 'fit to stand trial' for murder of wife in South Africa

  • 15 August 2014
  • From the section Bristol
Shrien Dewani and Anni Dewani
Shrien and Anni Dewani were on honeymoon in Cape Town in November 2010 when she was killed

Honeymoon murder suspect Shrien Dewani has been found fit to stand trial in South Africa by a panel of psychiatric experts.

The 34-year-old Bristol businessman is accused of ordering the murder of his wife, 28-year-old Anni, who was shot in Cape Town in 2010.

Mr Dewani, who denies murder, was extradited from Britain in April.

He was assessed over 30 days at Valkenberg Hospital in Cape Town to see if he is mentally fit to stand trial.

Before his extradition, Mr Dewani was detained in a hospital in Britain for depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Three jailed

He lost a three-year battle to avoid trial in South Africa, which he fought on the grounds that his mental health state was too fragile to undergo a trial.

Mr Dewani appeared at the Western Cape High Court earlier where the conclusions of the psychiatric experts were announced.

Director of public prosecutions Rodney de Kock told the court: "The accused is not mentally ill. The accused is not certifiable in terms of the Mental Health Act."

It is understood the findings are not disputed by Mr Dewani's lawyer, Francois van Zyl.

A pre-trial hearing was set for 9 September and Mr Dewani will continue to be detained at Valkenberg Hospital until then.

Anni Dewani was shot in the neck as they travelled in a taxi on the outskirts of Cape Town

His wife's sister, Ami Denborg, said: "It's a relief for all of us. We've been waiting quite a long time for this.

"I know this autumn is going to be tough for us, but we still want the trial to start so that we can get the information we need, we can get to know what really happened.

"It feels like we're moving forward. It's still a long way to go but at least we're taking steps in the right direction, and this feels like a huge step in the right direction."

Three men are currently serving jail terms in South African in connection with the death of his Mr Dewani' wife, including taxi driver Zola Tongo, who was given 18 years after admitting his role in the killing.

Xolile Mngeni, who prosecutors claim was the hitman, was convicted of premeditated murder over the shooting.

Another accomplice, Mziwamadoda Qwabe, pleaded guilty to murder and was handed a 25-year prison sentence.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites