5 November 2012

South Africa: Mngeni Is Guilty - State

Photo: Nardus Engelbrecht/SAPA
Xolile Mngeni hides his face in court.

Cape Town — The State has proven beyond reasonable doubt that Xolile Mngeni acted in common purpose to kill honeymooner Anni Dewani, the Western Cape High Court heard during closing argument on Monday.

Deputy director of public prosecutions Adrian Mopp said 26 State witnesses and phone records had given the court "overwhelming" evidence incriminating Mngeni.

The evidence "showed" Mngeni and accomplices had directly intended for Dewani to be killed, using whatever means necessary.

It was the State's case that Mngeni had been unable to prove his innocence, successfully explain where he was on the night in question, and give reasons for being linked to Dewani's stolen possessions.

Mngeni has pleaded not guilty to charges of kidnapping, robbery with aggravating circumstances, murder, and the illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition.

Dewani was shot in an apparent car hijacking while on honeymoon with her husband Shrien in Cape Town on November 13, 2010.

The State said on Monday it had decided to concede the charge of kidnapping since it formed part of the continuous criminal intention of executing the murder.

Mopp said he believed they had proven Mngeni was the gunman, rather than alleged accomplice and convicted killer Mziwamadoda Qwabe.

"Sorry to be crude, but Qwabe was the brains and Mngeni was the brawn," he said.

Qwabe, serving a 25-year jail term for his role in the murder, had testified Mngeni was both his accomplice and the shooter.

Mopp said the court could find beyond reasonable doubt that Mngeni had been in a vehicle with Qwabe and shuttle driver Zola Tonga the day of the crime to discuss the murder plan.

"Once he's inside the vehicle, the dominoes start falling... being inside the vehicle is fatal to the accused because that's where the plan was hatched," he said.

The State wrapped up its closing arguments and the defence was called to begin its argument.

Defence lawyer Qalisile Dayimani said he would need more time to prepare and asked for a postponement until Tuesday, which the court granted.

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