Dewani begins journey back to UK

Dewani's Emirates flight has left Cape Town International Airport.

Shrien Dewani arrives at Cape Town International Airport on 9 December 2014. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - British businessman Shrien Dewani's Emirates flight has left Cape Town International Airport as the British businessman begins his journey home.

Dewani refused to answer questions at the airport's security checkpoint this afternoon and was ushered through the terminal.

He was discharged by the Western Cape High Court yesterday and found not guilty of orchestrating the murder of his wife Anni in Cape Town four years ago.

The Briton's expressionless face was illuminated by flashing cameras as soon as he arrived at the airport's departures terminal.

He looked straight ahead as he was ushered to the security checkpoint.

It's believed he will fly to the UK on an Emirates flight this afternoon.

His passport was handed back to him yesterday shortly after he was acquitted by the Western Cape High court.

His legal battle here may be over, but his in-laws are considering their options.

They intend suing him in the UK.

Western Cape High Court Deputy Judge President Jeanette Traverso found the state provided no credible evidence to convict Dewani and granted an application to discharge.

"In the circumstances, I make the following order, the application in terms of section 174 of the Criminal Procedure Act is granted and the accused is found not guilty and discharged."

Traverso said she was aware of strong public opinion that Dewani should present his case to the court.

"I have however taken an oath of office to uphold the rule of law and to administer justice without fear, favour or prejudice. That I cannot do if I permit public opinion to influence my application of the law."

Dewani was extradited to South Africa in April following the conviction of three South African men for their roles in Anni's death.


The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) says the state is free to pursue a case against a state witness who testified against Dewani in his murder trial.

Traverso described Monde Mbolombo as a self-confessed liar who was deeply involved in the murder of Dewani's wife, Anni.

He initially wasn't truthful about the role he played in the 2010 murder.

The NPA's Nathi Mncube says, "The Director of Public Prosecutions in the Western Cape will have to make the decision in time."

He says the director will have to start on a docket and study the judgment on whether the NPA will prosecute Mbolombo or not.


It's the end of the road for prosecutors in Dewani's murder trial with no chance of an appeal.

The NPA says the state relied on the evidence of three South African men who were all involved in the alleged murder plot to have Dewani convicted.

Mncube explained the state's position on appealing the judge's ruling.

"We can only appeal on a question of law. We were in court and we heard that this was not a question of law, it was all a question of fact. The fact that the witnesses contradicted themselves and that they gave inconsistent evidence."

The Justice Department says it is disappointed by Dewani's acquittal.

Justice ministry spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga says although they are disappointed, they are not surprised.

"We have exhausted a lot of resources into the case, but knowing how justice is defined, as a fair and just adjudication of legal issues."


At the same time, the Justice Ministry says Dewani is no longer the responsibility of the South African government and will return home on his own ticket.

The British businessman's passport was returned to him yesterday after his application to be discharged and acquitted was granted in the Western Cape High Court.

South Africa spent almost R3 million flying Dewani on a chartered plane from the UK to Cape Town earlier this year.

It followed a lengthy and costly extradition battle.

At this stage, the justice ministry is still calculating the total cost of bringing him to trial.

Reacting to the Briton's acquittal, Mhaga defended the NPA's handling of the case.

"We believe that NPA prosecutors did all that they had to do but were disappointed by the witnesses."