Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Agliotti Is Reason To Extradite Dewani Not Block It

Tuesday, December 21, 2010   |  Comments: 1
As the battle for the extradition of Shrien Dewani, who South African authorities allege murdered his wife while on honeymoon, heats up the issues involving the possibility of his receiving a fair trial are coming to the fore.

Over the past few weeks the comments made by local police chief General Bheki Cele have come under scrutiny as well as Dewani’s suggestion that the police are trying to “stitch him up”.

The problem with the latter allegations are that they were first made at a time when Dewani was considered a victim and had everyone scratching their heads.

Why would anyone who is being held out as a victim keep going on about being innocent while nobody was accusing him of anything?

Dewani was allegedly implicated by taxi driver Zola Tongo who is serving an 18 year prison sentence for the murder. Subsequent to Tongo's claims British publicist Max Clifford has overseen a media fightback campaign by the Dewani family.

Recently it was suggested that lawyers for Shrien Dewani could use past allegations of corruption against South African police to prevent his extradition.

That Dewani has expressed fears about the detectives investigating the murder of his new bride, Anni Dewani during November.

According to reports William Booth, a South African lawyer, suggested that Dewani’s team should investigate two cases where defendants were cleared after evidence was allegedly tampered with by police.

Booth is quoted : “It’s been established in South Africa that there’s manipulation of evidence – that goes to the heart of the investigation and the prosecution.”

The UK Mirror then cites the examples as Fred van der Vyver and Glenn Agliotti who were acquitted of murder after evidence against them was ruled unsafe.

In truth both cases are the basis for reassuring Dewani and the British High Court that he will receive a fair trial before the South African judiciary for exactly the reasons purportedly given to demonstrate the opposite.

In the case of Agliotti the High Court did not even put the accused on the defence and slammed the prosecution for the manner in which they conducted the trial and gathered the evidence.

In other words if there is a stitch up, the courts don’t rubber stamp the line taken by the prosecutors and police. Instead they kick for touch and without blinking an eyelid let the public know what has gone on during the hearing.

So Agliotti, if anything, is as good a demonstration as you can get that should the police and state during the trial try to put forward any evidence that is unsafe they will be hammered for it.

In the case of Dewani he has the means to ensure that top local and international lawyers are available to him who can ensure that he is safeguarded against any abuse.

In the case of Fred van der Vyver - who was acquitted of the murder of Inge Lotz – he sued the authorities for R46m claiming malicious prosecution.

In other words not only was he acquitted but he has an enormous claim for damages as a result.

Both examples are the exact reason why the British High Court can feel secure about extraditing Dewani not the opposite as suggested.

Criminal lawyers IN EVERY COUNTRY claim that the authorities are setting up their clients.

As seen above where these instances may have occurred the Judiciary is more than able to deal with it.

If not there are any number of appeals open to a party who has been wronged.

Nothing stated above is intended to suggest that Dewani should or should not be extradited but rather to examine the issue raised by the UK Mirror.

If those are the only concerns then extradite Dewani.

The legal case opposing Shrien's extradition will involve a lot more than just that and will be judged on its merits.