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Dewani to remain at Valkenberg until trial

A panel of five experts has found Shrien Dewani fit to stand trial in the Western Cape High Court.

FILE: British businessman and honeymoon murder accused Shrien Dewani. Picture: Facebook.

CAPE TOWN - Shrien Dewani will remain at the Valkenberg Psychiatric Hospital until the end of his trial which starts in October.

A panel comprising five experts has found he is fit to stand trial in the Western Cape High Court.

He's accused of masterminding the murder of his wife Anni during their honeymoon in Cape Town in 2010.

A greying Dewani responded with a clear "thank you my lord" when Judge John Hlophe explained he would stand trial on 6 October.

Five experts have concluded Dewani is not mentally ill and is therefore fit to plead.

A report compiled by the experts was handed over to Hlophe a few hours ago before being made an order of the court.

Prosecutor Rodney de Kock says two months have been set aside for the trial.

Dewani will return to court on 9 September for a pre-trial hearing.

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.

CONTRADICTORY REPORTS

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

A doctor based at the Valkenberg Psychiatric 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.