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Dewani fit to stand trial

Honeymoon murder accused Shrien Dewani's trial has been set down for 6 October 2014.

Honeymoon murder accused Shrien Dewani's trial has been set down for 6 October 2014. Picture: AFP

CAPE TOWN - Honeymoon murder accused Shrien Dewani has been found fit to stand trial by a panel of experts.

The British businessman, who appeared in the Western Cape High Court this morning, is accused of hiring hit men to kill his wife Anni during their honeymoon in Cape Town in 2010.

Anni's body was found in an abandoned car in Khayelitsha following an apparent staged hijacking.

Dewani is accused of paying three men to kill her, which he has vehemently denied.

Three other men are already serving lengthy jail terms for their roles in the murder.

The panel this morning found Dewani is not mentally ill and therefore is fit to plead.

A report compiled by the experts was handed over to Judge John Hlophe in the Western Cape High Court this morning and was promptly made an order of court today.

Dewani will now return to the High Court on 9 September for a pre-trial hearing.

His actual trial will commence on 6 October.

Dewani will remain at the Valkenberg Psychiatric Hospital until his trial ends.

Two contradictory findings on Dewani's mental health were submitted to the Judge in June.

A doctor based at Valkenberg hospital concluded Dewani was not depressed.

However, a private psychiatrist held a different view and diagnosed him with panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and a mood disorder.

Dewani was extradited from the United Kingdom to South Africa in April.

The state has only 16 months to bring him to trial or he'll be sent back to Britain.

Meanwhile, Dewani's court appearance this morning did not have the same kind of attention as his first.

Compared to his appearance after his extradition in April, it was decidedly more quiet outside the Western Cape High Court this morning.

Protesters made their presence felt several months ago, when he first appeared with some demonstrators jeering Dewani's relatives, saying he should be held at Pollsmoor Prison and not at the psychiatric facility.

But there were no protests today, only news vans, photographers and reporters hovering around outside the courthouse, a clear indication a high profile case was underway.

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