News agency, Cape Town, South Africa
Friday August 23rd 2019

Fourth policeman denies forcing confession from Dewani murder accused.

Dewani accused Xolile Mngeni pores over details of the case in the Western Cape High Court. Photo: Sandiso Phaliso/WCN20.09.2012

On the last day set aside for the Anni Dewani murder trial in the Cape High Court a fourth policeman denied that accused Xolile Mngeni was tortured and assaulted shortly after his arrest.

The state called Investigating Officer Paul Hendricks to the stand in a trial-within-a-trial to defend Mngeni’s attorney’s contention that Mngeni’s statement of confession is inadmissible as he was tortured by police and his rights violated.

Although Mngeni’s defense attorney Qalisile Dayimani brought no evidence or witnesses to back up Mngeni’s assertion, he today told Judge Robert Henney that he was “not going to call the accused to testify”.

Dayimani put it to the court that shortly after he was arrested on November 16, 2010, three days after Anni was murdered, policemen tortured, assaulted, and told Mngeni what to say in the confession statement.

Hendricks said Mngeni “was never assaulted”.

Hendricks said Mngeni was always held at the Bellville Police Station holding cells except when he was booked out to assist police looking for a suspected accomplice.

Hendricks said on numerous occasions when Mngeni appeared at the Wynberg Regional Court he never complained to the magistrate of any assault.

Hendricks said when Mngeni complained he was urinating blood he arranged that he should be taken to a medical surgeon.

Asked whether it was standard procedure to have an investigating officer in the same building as an accused making a confession, Hendricks said it was normal, so long as the investigating officer did not enter the room in question.

Although court is now going into recess for two weeks, Henney is on Tuesday to hear closing argument and give judgement in relation to the trial-within-a-trial.

Mngeni has pleaded not guilty to murder, kidnapping, robbery with aggravating circumstances and possession of unlicensed firearm and ammunition but in his confession statement under dispute he details his version of events on the night of November 13 2010 when Anni Dewani was killed.

He had stated that a friend of his, ‘Mawewe’ hijacked a vehicle in Gugulethu. The vehicle was being driven by Zola Tongo and newlywed couple Shrien and Anni Dewani were in the car.

Tongo, then later, Shrien, were ordered out the car by ‘Mawewe’. He later shot Anni during a tussle over her handbag, claimed Mngeni.

‘Mawewe’ is believed to be Mziwamadoda Qwabe who pleaded guilty to Anni’s murder and was last month sentenced to 25-years imprisonment. Qwabe claimed it was Mngeni who fired the fatal shot.

Tongo, who reached a plea bargain with the state, was sentenced to 18 years imprisonment for arranging hitman to kill Anni, allegedly at Shrien’s request.

The extradition of Shrien Dewani, who returned to the UK shortly after Anni’s murder, has been delayed due to his mental health. – Sandiso Phaliso

Tags: Anni Dewani, Investigating Officer Paul Hendricks, Mziwamadoda Qwabe, Qalisile Dayimani, Shrien Dewani, Xolile Mngeni, Zola Tongo

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