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Chickenpox postpones Dewani trial

The trial was postponed to Monday after the prosecution's junior counsel called in sick with chickenpox.

Shrien Dewani in the Western Cape High Court. Picture: Sapa.

CAPE TOWN - The word township is not in British businessman Shrien Dewani's vocabulary.

This is according to Dewani's lawyer, who was cross-examining a state witness in the Western Cape High Court on Tuesday.

The court heard that on the night of the hijacking, Dewani had told a policeman his wife had wanted to see township life.

The prosecution claims the British businessman orchestrated the attack during his honeymoon with wife, Anni Hindocha Dewani, because he wanted his spouse dead.

Warrant Officer George Stefanus testified in the British businessman's murder trial on Tuesday.

He took a witness statement from the honeymoon murder accused shortly after the hijacking in November 2010.

Stefanus says Dewani was emotional, crying and worried about his wife's safety during the interview.

According to the statement Stefanus wrote up, Dewani apparently told him that his wife had asked the taxi driver on the night of the hijacking to see township nightlife.

But during cross-examination, Dewani's lawyer Francois van Zyl said the word 'township' wasn't even in his client's vocabulary at the time.

He faulted the officer for the manner in which he took the statement and said the chronology was also wrong.

Stefanus was one of three prosecution witnesses called in quick succession on Tuesday.

The state was then forced to ask for a postponement until Monday because a member of prosecutor Adrian Mopp's junior counsel is down with chickenpox.

Mopp indicated it's difficult for him to proceed without her, as she consulted with some of the witnesses.

Meanwhile, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) is hoping there won't be any further hiccups in the honeymoon murder trial.

The NPA's Eric Ntabazalila says, "It's a second delay in the second week. It's also one of those things can you can't control. We'll come back next week and we hope that there won't be any hiccups and we'll have another productive week."

To read Dewani's full plea explanation, click here.

You can also follow EWN's Dewani trial live blog for rolling updates.

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