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Dewani trial: Escort's testimony under scrutiny

Leopold Leisser told the court Dewani was a client who made use of his services on 3 occasions.

FILE: Shrien Dewani sits in the Western Cape High Court docks, waiting for the first day of his trial to begin. Picture: EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Prosecutors in the honeymoon murder trial will have to convince Judge Jeanette Traverso that a gay escort's testimony is relevant to their case against murder accused Shrien Dewani.

The British businessman is accused of ordering a hit on his wife Anni Hindocha Dewani during their honeymoon in Cape Town in November 2010.

Her body was found in an abandoned car in Khayelitsha following an apparent staged hijacking.

Dewani was implicated in his wife's death by three co-accused who agreed to testify for the state in exchange for lesser sentences.

One of the accused Xolile Mngeni died in prison earlier this month after a battle with cancer.

He has pleaded not guilty to all five charges against him including kidnapping, robbery with aggravated circumstances and murder.

State witness Leopold Leisser's testimony was cut short because Traverso is sceptical about whether it's relevant to the case.

Leisser, a United Kingdom-based gay male escort told the Western Cape High Court that Dewani was a client who made use of his services on three occasions in 2009 and early 2010.

Prosecutor Adrian Mopp believes Leisser's testimony will provide context for a motive.

He said Dewani told Leisser he was about to be engaged and could not find a way out without being disowned by his family.

Traverso had previously refused the prosecution permission to submit sexually explicit email exchanges between Dewani and an unnamed man as evidence.

Leisser testified that Dewani made use of his services, which include catering to men with sadomasochistic fetishes.

Traverso asked the prosecution to provide a written statement substantiating why she should allow Leisser to testify.

In the meantime, he has stood down as a witness.

Dewani acknowledged his bisexuality at the beginning of his trial.

He was extradited from Britain in April after losing a three-year battle to avoid trial in South Africa.

For more on Shrien Dewani, click here.

Or follow proceedings on EWN's live Dewani trial blog.

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