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Justice Dept won't recuse judge in Dewani trial

The department has written to Justice4Anni saying it will not take action against Judge Jeanette Traverso.

FILE. The Justice Department has written to Justice4Anni saying it will not take action against Judge Jeanette Traverso. Picture: AFP.

CAPE TOWN - The Justice Department will not take action over a petition calling for the recusal of Judge Jeanette Traverso, who is presiding over the Shrien Dewani murder trial.

Two local lobby groups have accused her of being biased towards the British businessman.

Dewani stands accused of hiring hit men to kill his wife, Anni Hindocha Dewani, in November 2010 while the two were in the Mother City on their honeymoon.

The Justice Department says it will not recuse Judge Traverso.

Justice Minister Michael Masutha wrote to the group, Justice4Anni, expressing his view on the matter.

But will not take further action.

Masutha indicated the matter is subject to determination by the Western Cape High Court and therefore it would not be appropriate for him to take action.

The petition called on the minister to dismiss the Western Cape judge and investigate her conduct during the trial.

It also called for a retrial with a new judge.

The petition claimed that Traverso is aggressive and rude to the state while being friendly to the prosecution.

Anni was killed in an alleged staged hijacking in Khayelitsha.

Three South African men have already been convicted and sentenced for their roles in her death, one of whom has since passed away.

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