Shrien and Anni Dewani
In a possibly major blow to the state’s case, the judge in the Shrien Dewani murder trial has ruled that e-mails about his sexuality are inadmissible.
On Tuesday, the state introduced Mark Roberts, who was previously with the London Metropolitan Police cyber-crime unit, to testify.
He analysed a hard drive from Dewani’s laptop and told the court about searches that were conducted on the computer for keywords, including “gay, fetish, rubber, watersports.”
Roberts also found numerous e-mails between Dewani and an unnamed man in 2009 that related to the murder accused’s sexuality.
Dewani’s lawyer Francois van Zyl, objected to the e-mails being read and questioned their relevance.
Judge Jeanette Traverso appeared to agree and asked prosecutor Adrian Mopp: “Why is his sexuality relevant to the facts we have to deal with?”
She noted that Dewani had already indicated that he is bisexual and pointed out that the e-emails pre-dated the murder by a year.
After a five minute break Traverso ruled that the e-mails are not admissible as they are not relevant. Roberts was then dismissed as a witness.
The judge’s move may put the state’s case in jeopardy. The state was expected to argue that as a deeply closeted gay man Dewani had his wife murdered in order to get out of the relationship.
He is facing five charges related to hiring men to kill Anni in an alleged staged hijacking while on honeymoon in Cape Town in 2010; charges which he denies.