HONEYMOON murder suspect Shrien Dewani could face his face public questioning under oath over the death of his wife Anni on their honeymoon in South Africa. The coroner has reportedly told the Bristol based businessman that he is considering resuming the inquest into the 2010 death, which was adjourned during the police investigation.
The Sun reported that North London coroner Andrew Walker has emailed individuals linked to the case to tell them he is ready to resume the inquest into Anni’s death. The news comes as South African judge Jeannette Traverso cleared him of murdering his Swedish bride after a sensational trial where his sexuality played a key role.
Prosecutors said Dewani, who has always denied his involvement in his wife’s murder, hired hitmen to kill 28-year-old Anni in a staged hijacking in a Cape Town township during their honeymoon in November 2010, because he is gay and felt trapped into marriage by family pressures.
Anni’s family were “sad” that Dewani had not given them the full story about his lifestyle. Her father, Vinod Hindocha, and her uncle, Ashok Hindocha, are due to meet Walker on Tuesday (3) to discuss the case.
A group of academics and lawyers from South Africa’s Higher Education Transformation Network (HETN) criticised Judge Traverso’s handling of the case last year, accusing her of ‘gross judicial bias and misconduct’.
The judge called a halt to the trial in December, two months into the hearing, after an application from Dewani’s lawyers that the prosecution case was “flawed”. The judge conceded there were “a number of unanswered questions” about the murder and acknowledged “strong public opinion” that Dewani should take the stand.
Traverso also noted a plea by the murdered woman’s family that Dewani should not be allowed to walk free without testifying, but said her ruling was based on law and could not be influenced by emotion. The judge said evidence given by taxi driver Zola Tongo that implicated Dewani in a murder plot was “highly improbable,” while another prosecution witness was described as a “self-confessed liar”.
Tongo and one of the hijackers - both serving long jail terms for the murder - told the court that Dewani hired them for 15,000 rand (£860) to kill his new wife. Dewani said in his statement that he had offered 15,000 rand to the taxi driver to arrange a private helicopter tour of Cape Town as a surprise for his bride.
Prosecutors never got the chance to cross-examine Dewani on why he was willing to pay an unknown taxi driver so much in cash to organise a trip that could have been handled by his top-class hotel.