Justice??

20Jan11

This story will make you choke…

The extradition hearing of a British businessman accused of ordering the murder of his new wife in South Africa has been adjourned because he is too ill to attend court.  Related content:

Honeymoon murder accused ‘stressed’

(UKPA) – 1 hour ago

A businessman accused of ordering the murder of his new wife is suffering from acute stress, a court has heard.

Shrien Dewani, 31, is accused of hiring a hitman to kill Anni, 28, on their honeymoon in South Africa.

Mr Dewani was diagnosed by a psychiatrist with an acute stress disorder and a depressive adjustment disorder, Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London heard. He did not attend the hearing, which was adjourned to February 8 at Belmarsh Magistrates’ Court.

Ben Watson, for the South African authorities, told the hearing that following a psychiatric report, Mr Dewani was judged unfit to attend court and was therefore excused by the judge.

Chief Magistrate Howard Riddle said he will review whether Mr Dewani should attend on February 8 when the extradition case against him will be formally opened. The judge extended Mr Dewani’s bail.

The court heard he is facing charges of conspiracy to murder, murder, kidnapping, robbery with aggravated circumstances and obstruction of the administration of justice.

The South African authorities are seeking to have Mr Dewani, from Westbury-on-Trym in Bristol, taken back to the country to stand trial.

Mrs Dewani, from Sweden, was shot when the taxi the couple were travelling in was hijacked in the Gugulethu township on the outskirts of Cape Town on November 13. She was found dead in the back of an abandoned cab with a bullet wound to her neck after cabbie Zola Tongo drove the newly-weds to the township.

His vehicle was hijacked and he and Mr Dewani were ejected before Mrs Dewani was driven away and killed.

Mr Watson said the South African authorities believe Mr Dewani conspired with others to make it “appear as if they had both been the victims of a random hijacking”.

ien Dewani’s case was due to be heard at London’s City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court but it has emerged he is suffering from acute stress.

Dewani, 31, is accused of hiring a hitman to kill his bride Anni, 28, on their honeymoon in November.

He has been diagnosed by a psychiatrist with an acute stress disorder and a depressive adjustment disorder.

His spokesman Max Clifford also said he did not need to be present because it was just a formality to fix a date for a future hearing.

Mr Clifford said: “He’s in a dreadful state, he’s mourning, he’s grieving.

“His family and friends are very worried about him and he’s lost the woman he loves.”

The extradition case will be formally opened on February 8 at Belmarsh Magistrates’ Court and chief magistrate Howard Riddle said he will review whether Dewani should attend then.

South African authorities want him to stand trial for the alleged contract killing in Cape Town.

He has previously fought attempts to extradite him.

Mrs Dewani, from Sweden, was shot when the taxi the couple were travelling in was hijacked in the Gugulethu township on the outskirts of Cape Town.

She was found in the back of the abandoned cab with a bullet wound to her neck.

Dewani has claimed he was told to leave the taxi before Mrs Dewani was driven away and killed.

Taxi driver Zola Tongo said in a plea bargain that Dewani offered him 15,000 rand (£1,400) for the killing – a claim Dewani rejects.

Tongo, 31, was sentenced to 18 years in jail for murder, kidnapping, robbery with aggravating circumstances and perverting the course of justice.

Xolile Mnguni, 23, and Mziwamadoda Qwabe, 25, who are charged with murder, kidnapping and robbery with aggravating circumstances, will appear before Wynberg Regional Court on February 25.

A friend of Dewani has said  that the businessman had not ruled out returning to South Africa to clear his name if certain guarantees were made.

Karen Todner, an extradition lawyer, said Dewani’s case had a good chance of succeeding.

“Extradition cases are always difficult to fight but I would be optimistic of his chances of opposing if he chooses to do so,” she told Sky News.

“I do not know of any case where someone has been extradited to South Africa.

“I think there would be a very good argument about their prison conditions and judicial system.”

Dewani faces charges of conspiracy to murder, murder, kidnapping, robbery with aggravated circumstances and obstruction of the administration of justice

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