British millionaire businessman Shrien Dewani appeared briefly in a South African court on Monday where his lawyers successfully argued he was not yet fit to stand trial for the murder of his Swedish bride.
CAPE TOWN- British millionaire businessman Shrien Dewani appeared briefly in a South African court on Monday where his lawyers successfully argued he was not yet fit to stand trial for the murder of his Swedish bride.
Dewani, 34, wearing a dark suit and tie, glanced nervously around in the dock as his lawyers said psychiatrists had told them Dewani had been cooperative but lacked the ability to concentrate for any length of time.
"I am informed that he has been fully co-operative and that his condition has improved," lawyer Francois van Zyl told the court.
"We have been told by treating psychiatrists not to consult with him for longer than 30 minutes at a time."
He said they hoped further improvement would mean that Dewani would be able to "instruct us properly".
The judge president of the Western Cape high Court, John Hlope, ordered Dewani to appear in court again on June 20.
He was remanded in custody at the Valkenberg psychiatric hospital, where he has been receiving treatment since being extradited from Britain last month.
SOUTH AFRICA, Cape Town : Prakash (R), and Preyen Dewani (front), respectively father and brother of extradited British millionaire businessman Shrien Dewani, leave the Western Cape High Court on May 12, 2014 in Cape Town, after Shrien Dewani briefly appeared in court with his lawyers successfully arguing he was not yet fit to stand trial on charges of ordering his Swedish wife's murder. AFP
'Hijacked at gunpoint'
Dewani, who returned to Britain shortly after his wife's murder, had fought his extradition for three years, claiming he had mental health problems including depression and post-traumatic stress.
If he is not found fit to face trial within 18 months, he will be returned to Britain under the terms of his extradition.
Dewani denies ordering the killing of his 28-year-old bride Anni in Cape Town in November 2010.
He claims the couple were hijacked at gunpoint during their honeymoon as they drove through the Gugulethu township in a taxi.
Dewani escaped unharmed, but his wife's body was found in the abandoned car the next day. She had been shot dead.
Prosecutors allege Dewani hired South African Xolile Mngeni to kill Anni. Mngeni was jailed for life for the murder in December 2012.
Two other men also jailed over the killing allege that Dewani ordered the hit.
The prosecution is expected to argue that Dewani is gay and plotted to have his wife killed to escape an arranged marriage that he was pushed into by his family.
The South African Sunday Times quoted sources close to the investigation as saying that one of the prosecution's main witnesses would be a "master" in sado-masochism from Britain who will claim that Dewani paid him for sex.
The case sparked outrage among South Africans who accuse Dewani of callously using the country's reputation for violent crime to murder his wife in the belief that he would get away with it.
Vinod Hindocha, father of the slain bride, has expressed the family's relief that Dewani would finally face trial in South Africa.
"Now we hope we get the answers we've been looking for the past three and a half years," he said.
Dewani's family, who were in court Monday, have said they remain determined to clear his name.
"We look forward to his health improving, his name being cleared, and there being an end to this legal trauma for all involved," the family said in a statement.
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Honeymoon murder suspect Dewani''s case postponed