Here's why Shrien Dewani was acquitted of murdering his wife

Shrien Dewani is a free man after the case against him over the honeymoon murder of his wife was dismissed.

The 34-year-old has been acquitted of the murder of Anni Dewani, née Hindocha, who was found dead in a South African township aged 28 in November 2010 after the taxi she was in with her new husband was hijacked.

Four years after her murder in Cape Town, this is why the case against Dewani, a wealthy businessman from near Bristol, broke down without him ever having to take the stand.

The key witness

At Western Cape High Court today Judge Jeanette Traverso ruled on the application by defence lawyer Francois van Zyl to have the case thrown out.

She said the only reason not to would be in the hope Dewani would implicate himself under cross-examination.

Judge Traverso said the claims of Zola Tongo, the central prosecution witness, were "riddled with contradictions" and "highly debatable".

Tongo, one of three men already convicted over Anni Dewani's murder, received a seven-year reduction in his 25-year sentence for testifying against Dewani, claiming he was hired by him to orchestrate the murder of his wife.

But Judge Traverso said in some instances Tongo's evidence "makes no sense".

"One does simply not know where the lies end and truth begins," she said.

In his affidavit he makes no mention of the promise by the accused to offer clients to him and grow his business (in exchange for helping with the murder).

Considering this was the main motivation (for Tongo) it seems strange he did not mention it in his police statement.

Mziwamadoda Qwabe and gunman Xolile Mngeni are the other two people to have been convicted over Anni Dewani's murder.

Qwabe is serving a 25-year jail term, while Mngeni died in prison from a brain tumour.

Judge Traverso said there was simply no way to corroborate Tongo's claims.

  • Zola Tongo pictured in court in 2010
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