Dewani murder trial moved to S.Africa's high court

20th September 2011, Comments 0 comments

The trial of the alleged killers of newlywed honeymooner Anni Dewani was moved Tuesday to South Africa's high court in Cape Town where proceedings will start in February, a South African magistrate ruled.

"A pre-trial conference will take place there on February 10 next year," said magistrate Jackie Redelinghuys.

Defendant Xolile Mngeni was helped up the stairs into the dock by his co-accused after undergoing surgery to remove a brain tumour in June, but was ordered back into custody ahead of the high court appearance.

The postponement is the latest in the November 2010 murder, in which Anni's husband Shrien is accused of masterminding her death in a botched car hijacking while the couple were honeymooning in Cape Town.

A London court ruled last month that Dewani can be extradited to South Africa where prosecutors want him to face murder charges alongside the two accused, but Britain's interior minister is to make a final decision in the matter next month.

Three men were originally charged with the killing but the couple's driver Zola Tongo was jailed for 18 years after turning state witness and pleading guilty. He claims Dewani had ordered the car-jacking and paid him.

Questions were raised if Mngeni would stand trial as medical reports last month warned that his condition could kill him and that he would not be able to answer charges even if he completed treatment, local media reported.

He and the second suspect, Mziwamadoda Qwabe, were both remanded in custody.

Dewani was thrown out of a car and his wife abducted and shot dead on November 13 after the newlyweds were allegedly hijacked in a poor township on the outskirts of Cape Town.

The businessman is being treated in a mental hospital for depression and stress and has denied all wrongdoing.

© 2011 AFP

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