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#DateSet: Dewani trial to begin in October, IF he is mentally fit

Honeymoon murder suspect Shrien Dewani will stand trial in South Africa this October charged with arranging the murder of his wife Anni, provided his mental health is sound.

A court in Cape Town ruled on Friday that the British-Indian businessman must be assessed by a panel of psychiatrists before the potential start of his trial on 06 October.

Dewani’s appearance at court was his third since being extradited to South Africa to face charges of paying for the abduction and murder of Anni during the couple’s honeymoon in November 2010. 

His lawyers did not oppose the application for mental health assessments made by the prosecution following conflicting reports on his mental and emotional state by doctors at the Valkenberg psychiatric hospital in Cape Town.

He will appear in court again on 15 August, when a decision is expected on whether the trial can proceed on the agreed date.

33-year-old Dewani, who owns a Bristol-based nursing care home business, denies the charges against him.

Three South African men have already been jailed for Sweden-born Anni’s murder.  Shrien and Anni were carjacked as they drove through the notorious Gugulethu township in Cape Town.  Dewani was later dropped off but Anni’s body was recovered the next day with a gunshot wound to her neck.

Prosecutors claim that Dewani hired South African Xolile Mngeni, to murder his spouse.

Dewani returned to Britain shortly after Anni’s murder and fought extradition for three years, claiming he had mental health problems including depression and post-traumatic stress.

If he is unfit to face trial within 18 months he will be returned to Britain, under the terms of his extradition.

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