South Africa’s High Court postponed the trial of Briton Shrien Dewani, who has been charged with murdering his wife during their honeymoon, until June 20 to allow him to receive further psychiatric treatment.
Dewani will be returned to Valkenberg hospital in Cape Town until his next court appearance, Judge John Hlophe said today after ordering the postponement.
Dewani said he and his wife Anni were carjacked at gunpoint while traveling in a taxi through Cape Town’s Gugulethu township on Nov. 13, 2010. While the businessman was released unharmed, his wife was found dead on the back seat of the abandoned vehicle the next day with a gunshot wound in her neck. Prosecutors say Dewani arranged the killing, an allegation he denies.
Dewani, who underwent treatment at a U.K. hospital for post-traumatic stress disorder and depression since his wife’s death, returned to South Africa to stand trial after losing a three-year legal battle to prevent his extradition. In his first court appearance on April 8, Hlophe ordered that he be detained at Valkenberg so doctors could assess his mental condition.
“We’ve been informed that he’s been fully cooperative and that his condition has improved,” Francois van Zyl, Dewani’s lawyer, told the court today. “On the advice of his doctors, we can’t consult for longer than 30 minutes at a time. He cannot concentrate for longer than that.”
Xolile Mngeni admitted to the shooting and was jailed for life in 2012, while accomplice Mziwamadoda Qwabe, who also pleaded guilty to murder, received a 25-year prison sentence. Taxi driver Zola Tongo was jailed for 18 years for being an accomplice to the crime.
Dewani was charged on April 8 with murder, conspiracy to commit murder, kidnapping, robbery with aggravating circumstances and obstructing the administration of justice.