Anni Dewani’s family have welcomed a court ruling on Friday that her husband Shrien is fit to stand trial for her murder.
The Western Cape High Court’s ruling was based on a mental health report released in court on Friday.
“The accused is not mentally ill. The accused is not certifiable in terms of the Mental Health Act,” Director of Public Prosecutions Rodney de Kock said.
Dewani’s lawyer Francois van Zyl said the mental health panel made a unanimous decision. The panel included Professor Tuviah Zabow, who was appointed by the court as a psychiatrist for Dewani.
“We are in agreement. There is no objection,” Van Zyl said.
Anni Dewani’s sister, Ami Denborg, told the British Press Association the decision was a huge relief.
“It’s a relief for all of us. We’ve been waiting quite a long time for this,” Denborg said from Sweden.
“I know this autumn is going to be tough for us but we still want the trial to start so that we can get the information we need, we can get to know what really happened.
“It feels like we’re moving forward. It’s still a long way to go but at least we’re taking steps in the right direction, and this feels like a huge step in the right direction,” said Denborg.
Dewani would go on trial on October 6. He would appear in court again on September 9 for a formal pre-trial hearing.
Dewani appeared before Judge President John Hlophe, supported by his parents and siblings.
According to the indictment previously handed to the court, he is charged with conspiracy to commit kidnapping, robbery with aggravating circumstances, murder, kidnapping and defeating the ends of justice.
It is the State’s case that he acted in common purpose and conspired with Cape Town residents Zola Tongo, Mziwamadoda Qwabe, and Xolile Mngeni to kill his wife. In return, the State alleges, Dewani would provide payment to the perpetrators.
Tongo, Qwabe and Mngeni are already serving jail terms in connection with the murder.
Dewani has not yet been asked to plead.
Dewani claimed he and his wife were kidnapped at gunpoint as they drove through Gugulethu in Cape Town in a taxi in November 2010.
The couple had been on honeymoon in the country. He was released unharmed, but his wife’s body was found in the abandoned car the next day. She had been shot dead.