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Dewani moved only if no risk posed

A businessman wanted in South Africa over the honeymoon murder of his wife may only be moved to an open NHS rehabilitation ward if he does not pose a significant flight risk, a court has heard.

Shrien Dewani will only be moved from a secure mental health hospital where he is being treated after a change in his bail conditions.

Despite the agreement of British and South African psychiatrists that he should be moved in order to aid his recovery from depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), chief magistrate Howard Riddle told Westminster Magistrates' Court that there is a possibility that his clinical needs would not determine where he goes.

"A very important factor was the assurance that Mr Dewani wanted to go back to South Africa as soon as possible," Mr Riddle said. "Everything we read in the reports suggests that is not the case and that increases his flight risk. I think everyone has to accept that there is at least a possibility that Mr Dewani may not be moving for his clinical interest but the Bail Act will determine where he goes."

The 32-year-old, accused of arranging the contract killing of his wife Anni in Cape Town in November 2010, is receiving treatment after being sectioned and deemed a suicide risk. He has pledged to clear his name.

Dewani is being held at Fromeside Clinic, a secure mental health hospital in Bristol where he is subject to a curfew and must be accompanied by staff when he leaves.

A report by Dr Paul Cantrell, the psychiatrist treating Dewani, stated that his depression has improved but that his PTSD remains severe. Dr Cantrell recommended moving him to a more serene atmosphere in order to aid his recovery. The court heard that a report from a psychiatrist employed by the South African government broadly agrees with Dr Cantrell's clinical assessment.

Dewani's 28-year-old wife, who was from Sweden, was shot when a taxi the couple were travelling in was hijacked in the Gugulethu township on the outskirts of Cape Town.

She was found dead in the back of the abandoned vehicle with a bullet wound to her neck after taxi driver Zola Tongo drove the newlyweds to the area. He and Dewani were ejected by the hijackers before Mrs Dewani was driven away and killed. Tongo, who has admitted his part in the crime, claimed in a plea agreement with prosecutors that Dewani ordered the carjacking and paid for a hit on his wife.

In March the High Court temporarily halted Dewani's extradition because of his poor mental health. Sir John Thomas, president of the Queen's Bench Division, and Mr Justice Ouseley ruled that it was "unjust and oppressive" to send him to South Africa straight away. But they rejected claims that he should not be extradited on human rights grounds and said that it is in the interests of justice that he be extradited "as soon as he is fit". The case will next be heard at court on October 19.


From Belfast Telegraph