Petition launched against Dewani judge

The “Justice4Anni” campaign wants Judge Jeanette Traverso removed from the case.

Shrien Dewani in the dock at Cape Town High Court at the start of the trial 14/10/06. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN

CAPE TOWN - A group on Friday launched a petition lobbying for the removal of Judge Jeanette Traverso who's hearing the Shrien Dewani trial.

The British businessman is accused of ordering a hit on his wife, Anni Hindocha Dewani, during the couple's honeymoon in Cape Town four years ago.

Traverso, the second most senior judge in the Western Cape, is expected to hand down judgment on Dewani's application to be discharged.

She will rule on the matter on 8 December.

The petition calls on Justice Minister Michael Masutha to dismiss Traverso from presiding over Dewani's murder trial.

It calls on the minister to initiate an investigation into her conduct and order a retrial.

The authors of the petition claim a case expert observing the trial compiled a dossier on Traverso's conduct, which will be handed to the minister.

She is accused of being aggressive and openly rude towards the prosecution while being friendly towards the defence.

The "Justice4Anni" campaign also claimed it was forced to launch the petition because of numerous complaints about Traverso's behaviour during the trial.

Anni was killed in an alleged staged hijacking in Khayelitsha in November 2010.

Her husband was extradited to South Africa earlier this year, after a lengthy legal battle, to stand trial for his role in her killing.

Three South African men were already convicted, one of whom has since passed way.