Dewani honeymoon murder case decision delayed

British businessman Shrien Dewani will have to wait two weeks to see whether a South African judge throws out charges that he organised the murder of his bride on their honeymoon.

AFP| Last Updated: Nov 25, 2014, 20:41 PM IST

London: British businessman Shrien Dewani will have to wait two weeks to see whether a South African judge throws out charges that he organised the murder of his bride on their honeymoon.

After hearing two days of argument on a defence bid to have the case dismissed, Western Cape High Court judge Jeannette Traverso said on Tuesday she would give her decision on December 8.

Dewani`s lawyers had applied for his discharge at the end of the state`s case, arguing that the evidence against him was so weak he should be acquitted without even having to mount a defence.

Dewani, 34, is accused of organising the murder of his 28-year-old Swedish bride Anni during their honeymoon in South Africa in November 2010.

Prosecutors say he hired hitmen to kill her in a staged hijacking because he is a gay man who felt trapped into marriage by family pressures. Dewani says he is bisexual and loved Anni.

The driver of the hijacked taxi and one of the hijackers -- both serving long jail terms for the murder -- testified that Dewani hired them for 15,000 rand ($1,300) to kill his wife.

Dewani`s lawyer, Francois van Zyl, argued that their evidence was full of contradictions and "cannot safely be relied upon".

According to South Africa`s Criminal Procedure Act, an accused can be declared not guilty at the close of the prosecution`s case if the court feels there is insufficient evidence to show he or she committed the crime.

Dewani returned to Britain within days of the murder and fought a three-year legal battle to avoid being extradited to South Africa, claiming he had mental health problems, including depression and post-traumatic stress.

But he was sent back to South Africa in April, where he was found fit to stand trial, and is being held at Cape Town`s Valkenberg hospital for the duration of the court hearing.