South Africa: Call to drop newlywed killing charge

AP News
Posted: Nov 18, 2014 11:59 AM
South Africa: Call to drop newlywed killing charge

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — The lawyer for a British businessman accused of arranging the murder of his wife during their honeymoon in South Africa says he will call for the case to be dismissed on Wednesday.

Shrien Dewani's lawyer, Francois van Zyl, said he plans to file an application to a Cape Town court on the basis that state prosecutors failed to prove that his client had planned his wife's murder. The prosecution is expected to file their response on Friday, with the court likely to hear the appeal on Monday.

South African prosecutors argued that Dewani conspired with three South Africans to murder his wife, Anni, a Swedish national, in November 2010.

Dewani was arrested in the United Kingdom in 2010 and after a lengthy legal process was extradited to Cape Town earlier this year.

Dewani pleaded not guilty to all charges when his trial began in October. He said he and his wife were hijacked at gunpoint, according to his statement read out by his lawyer.

In the statement, the businessman acknowledged being bisexual — apparently an attempt to pre-empt any prosecution effort to argue that Dewani murdered because he felt trapped in the marriage — but he said he was devoted to the relationship with his wife.

Two South African men, already convicted of the murder, testified that Dewani paid 15,000 rand (about $2,100) for them to kill his wife. In cross-examination they contradicted each other and changed details of their stories.

Dewani says he paid the taxi driver the money to arrange a surprise helicopter trip for his new wife.