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Dewani case: Pressure mounts for recusal of judge

EWN can reveal a local group has written to the provincial DPP to have Judge Jeanette Traverso recused.

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

CAPE TOWN - Calls for the removal of the Cape Town Judge hearing the murder trial of British businessman Shrien Dewani are mounting.

Eyewitness News can this morning reveal a local group has written to the Provincial Director of Public Prosecutions as part of efforts to have Judge Jeanette Traverso, the second most senior judge in the Western Cape, recused.

Last week, a petition launched by another support group, Justice4Anni, requested Justice Minister Michael Masutha investigate Traverso's conduct, claiming she is biased towards Dewani.

Dewani is accused of ordering a hit on his wife, Anni, during the couple's honeymoon in Cape Town in November 2010.

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.

A Cape Town-based group, called the Society for the Protection of our Constitution has written to Provincial Director of Public Prosecutions, Rodney de Kock and his deputy.

It wants prosecutors to ask Judge Traverso to postpone the trial in order to delay judgment in Dewani's application to be discharged and acquitted on Monday.

The group's Azad Kadri has also asked prosecutors to apply for Traverso's recusal.

"From my point of view we feel that she clearly is biased and not suitable for this particular case, with respect."

The group says it needs more time in order to apply to join the matter as a friend of the court.

A HEARTFELT PLEA

"It would be a terrible development in what has been a four year wait if we, and the people of South Africa are not afforded the full story.

"We don't want to return to Sweden or the United Kingdom and feel that we did not get the proper fair trial in South Africa."

If the British businessman's application is granted on Monday, he will be able to leave the country a free man.

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

Dewani 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 away.

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