CCTV footage 'shows Dewani giving package to taxi driver'
Saturday 11 December 2010
Significant new evidence has come to light against Shrien Dewani in the case of his wife's murder, the High Court in London was told yesterday.
Mr Dewani, 30, was freed from custody after Mr Justice Ouseley granted bail on stringent conditions with a £250,000 surety, despite opposition from the South African authorities.
Ben Watson, appearing for the South Africans, who want to extradite the businessman over allegations that he conspired to murder his new bride, Anni, 28, argued that fresh evidence demonstrated there was "a very powerful case against Mr Dewani", which increased the risk of him taking flight if allowed bail.
Mr Watson told the court that this included new CCTV footage and independent evidence that Mr Dewani had obtained money on the black market, allegedly to fund the murder. He said the taxi driver Zola Tongo's evidence that he had been paid to arrange the hit was supported by footage showing him surreptitiously receiving a white plastic packet from Mr Dewani three days after the murder. "We say the net is closing," added Mr Watson.
The couple, from Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol, had been married for two weeks, and were on honeymoon in Cape Town, when they were held at gunpoint on the night of 13 November in the township of Gugulethu. While the driver and groom were forced from the car unharmed, Mrs Dewani's body was found the next day in the abandoned car. The Swedish-born engineer had a single bullet wound to the neck.
Earlier this week Tongo, who was jailed for 18 years after making a plea agreement with prosecutors, claimed in a South African court that Mr Dewani had offered him R15,000 (£1,300) to hire hitmen. Yesterday Clare Montgomery QC, for Mr Dewani, said aspects of the case were "frankly absurd", adding: "Your lordship may regard it as at least improbable, even for an experienced criminal, to arrive at a foreign airport, to pick up a taxi driver of a different race and nationality and decide within an hour or so of making his acquaintance to recruit him, in a 30-minute conversation, into a plan to murder his wife."
The South African authorities had appealed to the High Court against a decision by a judge at City of Westminster magistrates' court to grant bail. But yesterday the judge allowed bail after ruling there was "strong support" for the submission that "Dewani genuinely hopes that the investigation will clear him" and would not flee.
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