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Pre-trial hearing in Dewani case

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The pre-trial hearing of honeymoon murder-accused Shrien Dewani will held at the Western Cape High court on Tuesday. During a pre-trial conference both parties meet before the judge or magistrate to prepare for and expedite the matter and, in some cases, discuss a plea. Last month, the court heard that a mental health panel unanimously found the British businessman fit to stand trial.

The National Prosecuting Authority said it expected the trial, set to begin on October 6, to take two months. According to an indictment previously handed to the court, Dewani is charged with conspiracy to commit kidnapping, robbery with aggravating circumstances, murder, kidnapping, and defeating the ends of justice.

The State alleges he acted in common purpose and conspired with Cape Town residents Zola Tongo, Mziwamadoda Qwabe, and Xolile Mngeni to kill his wife. He allegedly paid them. Tongo, Qwabe, and Mngeni are already serving jail terms for the murder. Dewani has not yet been asked to plead.

He claims he and his wife Anni were kidnapped at gunpoint as they drove through Gugulethu, Cape Town, in a minibus taxi during their honeymoon in November 2010. Shrien Dewani was released unharmed, but Anni was shot dead. Her body was found in the abandoned minibus the next day. SAPA

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