In the Media

Prosecutors warnings over Panorama doc on Dewani murder

PUBLISHED March 24, 2012

The programme features previously unseen CCTV footage allegedly showing Shrien Dewani making a payment following his new wife's death to the taxi driver who has admitted organising her murder.

The footage was filmed by security cameras inside the luxury Cape Race hotel in Cape Town and is said to show Dewani handing a package to Zola Tongo, 31, following the November 2010 tragedy.

The BBC said the footage also captured the moment Dewani is said to have commissioned the murder. But it also throws new light on the couple's relationship with images depicting them interacting affectionately in the days prior to Mrs Dewani's death.

Mthunzi Mhaga, spokesman for South Africa's National Prosecuting Authority, expressed concern about the programme, to be broadcast on Thursday, suggesting that it could prove an obstacle to justice if Dewani was put on trial.

"We are obviously concerned because the matter is pending before court and therefore sub judice, he told South Africa's News24 website.

"The documentary will amount to trial by media."

Dewani, 32, continues to fight extradition to South Africa, where prosecutors are determined to charge him with murder and put him on trial alongside two local men accused of being the gunmen.

The millionaire care home boss, from Bristol, and his new wife, a Swedish engineering graduate, were on honeymoon when she was abducted and shot dead.

Dewani claimed he was thrown out of their taxi and feared for his life following the abduction.

However he was later named a suspect in the murder after Tongo claimed in court that Dewani had paid him £1,400 to organise the hit.

Last year Theresa May, the Home Secretary, signed an order allowing Dewani to be sent to South Africa for trial.

The entrepreneur, who claims to be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, is now awaiting the result of an appeal against the decision.

His lawyers have argued he could be denied a fair trial following the extensive media coverage of the case.