A BBC programme to be telecast on Thursday casts further doubts over the prosecution’s case against British Indian businessman Shrien Dewani,accused of murdering his wife Anni in 2010 while on honeymoon in South Africa.
The 28-year-old Indo-Swedish Anni was shot in a taxi on the outskirts of Cape Town after the couple was car-jacked.
Shrien escaped relatively unharmed but remains in a UK mental facility for treatment for post-traumatic stress and has been fighting his extradition to stand trial in South Africa.
The 33-year-old Bristol-based businessman has denied any involvement in the murder all along.
The BBC’s Panorama programme has now obtained prosecution files on the case which have been scrutinised by experts.
Forensic expert Prof Jim Fraser found there was “simply a cloud of suspicion rather than any evidence” against Shrien.
Fraser told ‘Panorama’ there were contradictions in the evidence of an expected key prosecution witness and the investigation would not meet UK standards.
Fraser,who has advised the UK Home Office on a number of high-profile cases,feels the number of contradictions in the evidence was significant.
“A single thing that was inconsequential even a number of things that were inconsequential wouldn’t worry me. But there are really quite a few things here which are plainly untrue,” he tells the BBC.
Anni’s family have called on Shrien to return to South Africa to answer the charges and have criticised the BBC for conducting what they say is “trial by television”.
The couple’s taxi driver Zola Tongo has already been jailed for 18 years in 2010 after he admitted his part in the killing,and another accomplice,Mziwamadoda Qwabe,also pleaded guilty to murder and was handed a 25-year prison sentence.
Among the police files of evidence examined by Panorama is Tongo’s statement.
The evidence also includes video confessions,CCTV footage,phone records,scientific evidence and pictures of the crime scene.
Having struck a plea bargain for a reduced sentence,Tongo is expected to testify when the case alleging that Dewani hired him goes to trial.
However,the CCTV footage and phone records obtained by Panorama appear to contradict Tongo’s sworn statement,the programme has said.
On the day Anni was murdered,the couple had had a late breakfast.
Tongo’s statement says Shrien Dewani called him at 11:30,during the meal,asking to be picked up.
But phone records in the police file show there was no such call.
Much of the case rests on what was said in calls and texts between Shrien and Tongo.
But BBC has learnt that experts have not been able to retrieve the actual text messages.