Nearly Four Years After Murder of Anni Hindocha, Shrien Dewani’s Trial Starts Monday, October 6, 2014
In what has become known as the Honeymoon Murder, Shrien Dewani, a 34-year-old British citizen, will stand trial in the Western Cape High Court, South Africa. Charged with conspiracy to commit kidnapping, robbery with aggravating circumstances, murder, kidnapping, and defeating the ends of justice, Dewani’s lawyers had fought a drawn-out legal battle to prevent his extradition from the UK to South Africa. In November, 2010, he and his bride, 28-year-old Anni Hindocha, a Swedish citizen, were honeymooning in Cape Town, staying at the five-star Cape Grace Hotel. Two weeks prior on October 27, the two had been married in a traditional Hindu ceremony in Mumbai (Bombay) India. Anni’s family states that a civil ceremony was planned the following March.
No Cameras Allowed in Court
Unlike the Oscar Pistorius trial in Pretoria, Dewani’s trial will not be televised. Personally, I’m disappointed. Gag orders could be issued restricting media commentary (opinions) while at least the public could view the proceedings. But presiding Judge Jeanette Traverso has spoken and I fully and completely respect that decision.
Dewani’s Mental Health, Good Lawyers, Extradition
Extradited in April from the UK to South Africa, Dewani was immediately placed under the care of physicians at Valkenberg Psychiatric Hospital where he received a 30-day evaluation. I believe the process is similar to the Oscar Pistorius mental health review. Anyway, he was found competent to stand trial and that is what counts.
Also similar to Pistorius, Dewani is rich. His high-powered legal team successfully delayed his extradition for years, arguing that he was mentally unfit to stand trial. Diagnosed with depression and PTSD following Anni’s murder, his lawyers were prepared to take his appeal all the way to the High Court but ultimately a judge ruled that he was fit to stand trial in South Africa.
Following the initial stages of the extradition process, the court had to decide whether there was evidence which would be sufficient to make a case requiring an answer by the person if the proceedings were the summary trial of an information against him. The mere suspicion, reasonably justified, by the South African prosecuting authorities would be sufficient.
And off he went to South Africa upon order of a British judge before his appeal was even heard by the Supreme Court. Continue reading