The judge presiding over the Anni Dewani murder trial issued a strongly worded warning to accused Xolile Mngeni’s attorney when his absence delayed the trial for an hour yesterday morning.
It was the second time this week that Judge Robert Henney blasted defense attorney Qalisile Dayimani.
Visibly angry, Henney threatened to report Dayimani to the Law Society and to in future disregard his absence and continue with court proceedings.
Henney made the threats after Dayimani’s absence meant court proceedings, set to begin at 10am, only started at 11am.
Dayimani was expected to cross-examine Mziwamadoda Qwabe, who was sentenced to 25 years in prison earlier this month for his part in the murder of Anni Dewani on November 13, 2010.
In testimony on Monday Qwabe detailed how he and Mngeni had carried out the killing after conducting a staged hijacking of the vehicle Anni and her new husband Shrien Dewani were travelling in.
As state witness, Qwabe, who pleaded guilty to murdering Anni, said Mngeni had pulled the trigger.
Dayimani’s excuse that his consultations with his client was the reason for his absence were not accepted by Henney.
Dayimani also said he wanted transcripts of court proceedings in order to go through testimony with Mgneni.
“I don’t accept your apology. You are disrespectful,” said Henney.
“I was waiting anxiously. Why did you not do this over the weekend?” asked Henney, to which Dayimani responded that he had difficulty in getting access to Mngeni at Pollsmor Prison over the weekend.
It was not the first time Henney has rebuked Dayimani since the trial start on August 15, having expressed dissatisfaction of his queries regarding fingerprints lifted from the vehicle in which Anni’s body was found and unnecessary technical delays related to CCTV footage Dayimani wanted to show the court, but which has not yet been viewed.
Mngeni has pleaded not guilty to charges of kidnapping, robbery with aggravating circumstances, murder, and the illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition.
Mngeni’s trial has been set down to run until September 21. - Sandiso Phaliso