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Accused Dewani to stay in hospital

The condition of honeymoon murder-accused Shrien Dewani has improved but he will remain in hospital, a South African court has heard.

The Western Cape High Court ordered that Dewani remain at Valkenberg Hospital in Cape Town to receive further treatment for his mental health and the case was adjourned by Judge President John Hlophe until June 20.

Dewani, from Bristol, was extradited from the UK last month to face trial charged with conspiracy to commit kidnapping, robbery with aggravating circumstances, murder, kidnapping, and defeating the ends of justice.

His new wife Anni Dewani died when she was shot in the neck as the couple travelled in a taxi on the outskirts of Cape Town in November 2010.

The millionaire businessman is accused of paying three men to kill her during the couple's honeymoon, which he denies.

In today's pre-trial conference, Francois van Zyl told how his client had fared in his month as a hospital patient, the South African Press Association reported.

He said: "I am informed that he has been fully co-operative and that his condition has improved. We have been told by treating psychiatrists not to consult with him for longer than 30 minutes at a time."

He said Dewani lacked the ability to concentrate for longer than this time but he remained hopeful that his client would improve enough to "instruct us properly".

Dewani, in a dark suit and tie, was brought up into the dock only after Mr Hlophe sat down.

His parents and other relatives sat in a bench in front of him and seemed worried.

Dewani stared at the judge. Sometimes, his eyes skitted from side to side.

He was led back down to the holding cells five minutes after being brought up.

Mr Hlophe was informed that there were no other matters on the roll.

"That was a short walk to freedom," he joked, before exiting in his bright red robes.

Before his extradition to South Africa last month, Dewani was detained in a hospital in Britain for depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

It is the South African state's case that he conspired with Cape Town residents Zola Tongo, Mziwamadoda Qwabe and Xolile Mngeni to kill his wife.

Tongo, Qwabe, and Mngeni are already serving jail terms in connection with the murder.

Dewani has not yet been asked to plead.

He claimed he and his wife Anni were kidnapped at gunpoint as they drove through Gugulethu in Cape Town in a taxi in November 2010.

The couple had been on honeymoon in the country. He was released unharmed, but his wife's body was found in the abandoned car the next day. She had been shot dead.

The South African authorities have been waiting for more than three years to get Dewani into the dock.


From Belfast Telegraph