July 24 (Bloomberg) -- Shrien Dewani can be sent to South Africa to face charges he murdered his wife during their honeymoon in 2010, a London judge ruled.
Judge Howard Riddle rejected arguments that Dewani’s mental health wouldn’t allow him to stand trial and that there was no guarantee he would recover more quickly in London. If extradited, the 33-year-old Dewani would be sent to Valkenberg Hospital in Cape Town rather than jail, Riddle said.
“There has been recovery, but it has been slow,” Riddle said. “It may be a long time until he is fit to plead.”
South Africa wants to try Dewani for the murder of his wife Anni in Cape Town in November 2010. Anni Dewani was killed after a taxi she and her husband were traveling in was carjacked in Gugulethu, near the city. South African prosecutors allege her husband arranged the murder.
The ruling “shows that the London authorities have confidence in South Africa’s justice system and judicial process and in the fact that we can give Mr. Dewani a fair trial,” Bulelwa Makeke, head of communications at the South African National Prosecuting Authority, said in a telephone interview from Pretoria.
Dewani has been treated at a U.K. hospital for post-traumatic stress disorder and depression since his wife’s death, Riddle said today.
Dewani’s lawyers had argued at an earlier hearing that a decision on extradition should be delayed six months to allow more time for him to recover.
“The evidence is that Mr. Dewani will receive the treatment he needs in South Africa,” Riddle said in his judgment. “Delaying extradition may make the clinical toll worse, so there are advantages in moving on.”
About 40 members of Anni Dewani’s family arrived at court today wearing photographs of her pinned to their chests trimmed with pink ribbon.
“For us it is all about Anni, it’s all about finding out what happened,” Ami Denborg, Anni Dewani’s sister, told reporters outside the court today.
Lawyers at Corker Binning, who represent Shrien Dewani, declined to comment. They have 14 days to appeal the ruling.
The case is Dewani v. Government of The Republic of South Africa, CO/9406/2011.
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