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Dewani trial postponed

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British businessman Shrien Dewani’s trial on a charge of murdering his wife Anni was postponed on Thursday after both he and his alleged accomplice complained of stomach problems.

Convicted killer Mziwamadoda Qwabe was to have continued being cross-examined in the afternoon, but he told Deputy Judge President Jeannette Traverso he was not feeling well.

He said he did not want to complain but he had been suffering from stomach cramps since Wednesday evening and the pills he was given were not helping.

Traverso replied she could not force him to continue. She asked where he ate on Wednesday night and Qwabe replied in prison.

He is serving a 25-year jail term for his role in Dewani’s murder.

“You would prefer not to continue testifying?” Traverso asked.

Qwabe replied he was too uncomfortable.

At this point, Dewani’s lawyer Francois van Zyl added: “My client has the same problem.”

Earlier, Van Zyl apologised after a morning adjournment took longer than usual because Dewani “had an upset stomach”.

The trial would resume on Monday as criminal trials did not sit on Fridays in the high court.

Since the beginning of the trial on Monday, there had a been a number of delays because of the sound system in court.

Qwabe and Xolile Mngeni hijacked the shuttle taxi Dewani and his wife Anni were in on November 13, 2010, while they were passing through Gugulethu, Cape Town. She was shot dead and her body was found on the back seat of the abandoned taxi in Khayelitsha the following morning.

The State alleges Dewani approached the taxi driver Zola Tongo to find a hitman to carry out the murder for R15,000.

Mngeni was jailed for life and Tongo for 18 years.

Dewani has pleaded not guilty to charges of murder, kidnapping, robbery with aggravating circumstances, conspiracy to commit these crimes, and defeating the ends of justice. SAPA

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