September 6 2011
– Shrien Dewani has employed a team of South African private detectives to probe the honeymoon murder of his wife Anni, it was reported today.
Dewani, 31, faces extradition to South Africa to stand trial after being accused of organising a phoney hi-jacking and hiring a hitman to kill his new bride.
He is reported to have paid a respected firm of investigators to hunt for fresh evidence following the shooting last November during the couple’s honeymoon in Cape Town.
According to South Africa’s New Age newspaper, detectives from Cape Town-based Brooke International have been working since March to conduct a root-and-branch review of the case.
The paper reported: ‘The firm boasts a high success rate. It frequently uses former police detectives to conduct important investigations.’
The move comes as it was claimed Dewani had already also spent more than £40,000 to hire a team of top lawyers in case he is extradited to South Africa.
New Age claims the Bristol-based care home boss had paid around 100,000 rand to defence attorney Taswell Papier.
The respected brief is believed to have spent ‘a significant amount of time’ laying the legal groundwork for a murder trial.
Dewani, 31, is currently facing extradition to South Africa to stand trial following the murder of his new bride
Mrs Dewani was found dead on November 14, hours after the taxi in which she and her new husband were travelling was held up at gunpoint in a township outside Cape Town.
Mr Dewani later told how the pair of gunmen dumped him by the roadside before abducting his bride.
However he was later accused of orchestrating the hijacking himself by paying taxi driver Zola Tongo to arrange the hit.
He flew back to Britain two days after the killing and has always denied any involvement in the tragedy.
But South African prosecutors launched a bid to extradite him and last month a judge ruled he should be sent back to face justice.
Dewani arrives at his extradition hearing last month where a judge ruled he could be sent to South Africa to stand trial
The millionaire businessman, who is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, is now being held in protective custody while home secretary Theresa May decides whether to rubber stamp the decision.
If he is extradited he will be represented in South Africa by Mr Papier, a director at the Edward Nathan Sonnenbergs firm.
The New Age today reported that the attorney had accepted an up front payment of £870 in February after being hired by Dewani’s father Prakesh.
The newspaper said the lawyer, who usually practises commercial law, billed out at £300 an hour.
It is believed that he has flown to Britain at least twice to consult with Dewani and his family, and attended the final extradition at Belmarsh Magistrate’s Court.
The New Age reported that it was Papier who had personally engaged the services of the private investigators.
He has also apparently hired leading South African barrister Francois van Zyl, who has previously defended suspects in a string of high profile cases.
The New Age claimed the evidence that Dewani had allegedly spent so much on preparing his defence showed the businessman was now resigned to being extradited.
The company boss had argued that he would be denied a fair trial in South Africa and said he could be abused in prison.
However the home secretary is widely expected to approve the court ruling that he should be sent back to Cape Town.
Dewani has indicated his intention to appeal the decision if she does so.
– Emily Miller