Plans to sue Shrien Dewani on hold

Anni’s parents and relatives intend spending Christmas together before making any decision.

Shrien Dewani at Cape Town International Airport on his way home on 9 December 2014. Picture: Rahima Essop/EWN

LONDON/CAPE TOWN - Shrien Dewani is set to endure an agonising wait before finding out whether he faces legal action by the family of his murdered wife.

The parents of Anni Hindocha Dewani, whose death the 34-year-old British businessman was accused of organising, say they want to spend time with their family before deciding on any civil challenge against their son-in-law.

The court on Monday granted his application to be discharged because prosecutors failed to provide credible evidence he hired hitmen to kill his wife four years ago.

Judge Jeanette Traverso found the state provided no credible evidence to convict Dewani and granted an application to discharge the case.

Anni's family remain adamant they were let down by the South African legal system after Dewani walked free, but the family's plans to pursue a civil case against Dewani in a British court looks set to be on hold.

Anni's parents and other relatives instead look to focus on spending Christmas together before making any decision.

They claim the British businessman lied to them and they would never have let their daughter marry him if details about his bisexuality, which emerged in court, had been known earlier.

Any claim against Dewani is expected to include the costs of the couple's wedding of R3.5 million.

Meanwhile, legal expert Karthy Govender says the Dewani murder trial has shown that prosecutors need to think carefully about over-reliance on confessions and plea bargains.

"Let's look at whether we should be placing more reliance on forensic evidence because in this case there was a heavy reliance on the evidence of the accomplice and once their testimony collapsed, there was a very little for the state to pursue their case against the defence."

Govender says the court's decision should be looked at objectively.

"I think if somebody looks at this objectively, they will conclude that as far as judicial matters are concerned, they will affirm that the South African judicial system is independent."


At the same time, the Judicial Service Commission has confirmed a complaint about Judge Traverso's conduct during the trial will receive attention.

A lobby group lodged the complaint against Traverso for allegedly showing bias towards Dewani.

The group, calling itself, the Justice4Anni Campaign had previously sent a petition to Justice Minister Michael Masutha calling for Traverso's removal, but the Minister responded by saying it was not appropriate for him to take any action .

The Judicial Service Commission's Sello Chiloane says the complaint has been received.

"The complaint is going to be forwarded to the Judicial Conduct Committee which will then take the matter forward.


Dewani is expected to face a huge media scrum on his arrival back in the UK in a few hours time.

The Briton travelled back to his British home via Dubai.

The 34-year-old has not spoken about his acquittal, but with huge media interest in Britain, he will come under immense pressure to break his silence.

And as an innocent man, Dewani would also be free to negotiate exclusive deals to sell his story to the press.

Any payments for interviews would be likely to cause further outrage and dismay among Anni's family who feel they were let down by the South African court system.

Two South African men are already serving time in prison for Anni's murder.

Dewani's trial is the second high-profile case this year to turn the spotlight on South Africa's judicial system and high murder rate.

A Pretoria high court in October sentenced Olympic and Paralympic runner Oscar Pistorius to five years in jail for shooting dead his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.