News agency, Cape Town, South Africa
Wednesday January 23rd 2019

Judge to decide admissibility of Dewani murder accused’s confession

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

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


In final arguments over whether Anni Dewani murder accused Xolile Mngeni’s confessions statement should be admissable as evidence, state prosecutor Adrian Mopp argued that Mngeni’s failure to testify in his defence proved he was not assaulted by police.

Although the Western Cape High Court is in recess as from Friday last week, Judge Robert Henney continued today as he wished to wrap up the trial-within-a-trial over Mngeni’s statement following his arrest on November 16, 2010.

Mngeni has pleaded not guilty to the kidnapping and murder of Swedish newlywed Anni Dewani who was killed after an apparent staged hijacking in Gugulethu on November 13, 2010.

It is alleged her husband, UK citizen Shrien Dewani, ordered a contract killing.

Mngeni’s defense attorney Qalisle Dayimani argued that Mngeni was tortured by police in order to extract a confession and his right to have a lawyer present following his arrest was violated.

The state called four police officers to the stand to testify that Mngeni had not been assaulted and his rights respected.

Dayimani argued that Mngeni was ordered what to write in his statement and told what crime scenes to point out.

However, he never put Mngeni, who suffers from a brain tumour, on the stand.

Mopp told Henney that the fact that Mngeni failed to testify in the trial-within-a-trial, which is his rights to do so, proved Mngeni was not assaulted.

“The only complaint is that he was not afforded an opportunity for a legal representative,” said Mopp, adding that when Mngeni was asked whether he wanted a lawyer “the accused was indecisive”.

Mopp said the police officer who took the confession statement, Captain Johannes Jonker, “tells him his rights, but does not tell him choose A or B.  Jonker tells him these are your rights and you can stop if you want to”.

“He (Mngeni) is not sure he wants a lawyer and went (on) to make a statement,” said Mopp, adding that “the court should dismiss the allegations of assault” and “the statement to Jonker should be admitted”.

However, Dayimani said investigating officer Paul Hendricks was not in the company of Mngeni at all times and the assault could have happened between 5.20am and 7.30am on November 16, 2010 following Mngeni’s arrest.

When asked why Mngeni did not tell Jonker he had been assaulted, Dayimani said the reason was because Mngeni “was fearful of the police”, to which Henney responded “but you could see from the video (evidence) he was cooperative with the police”.

“You have to have evidence which I have to take into consideration, but I have nothing,” said Henney.

Mngeni has pleaded not guilty to charges of hijacking, kidnapping, robbery with aggravating circumstances, possession of unlicensed firearm and illegal ammunition in relation to Anni’s murder Two men, Zola Tongo and Mziwamadoda Qwabe, have since been convicted for their roles in her murder and sentenced to 18-years and 25-years respectively.

Shrien Dewani, whom the state believed ordered her killing, is currently involved in extradition proceedings in the UK. – Sandiso Phaliso

Tags: Adrian Mopp, Anni Dewani, Captain Johannes Jonker, Judge Robert Henney, Mziwamadoda Qwabe, Paul Hendricks, Qalisle Dayimani, Shrien Dewani, Western Cape High Court, Xolile Mngeni, Zola Tongo

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