South Africa is once again the scene of a high profile murder trial just weeks after athlete Oscar Pistorius was found guilty of culpable homicide, as British businessman Shrian Dewani is set to be tried for the killing of his wife on their honeymoon
Dewani is accused of ordering the killing of his wife Anni in Cape Town in 2010, with the trial delayed by a lengthy legal process to extradite him from the UK.
The trial could hinge on the evidence of a German male prostitute, who claims that Dewani paid him for sadomasochistic sex on three occasions, and other men who will also claim they had liaisons with Dewani, including a parliamentary aide.
South African prosecutors argue that Dewani conspired with three South African men to kill Anni. The South Africans have been convicted of the crime and are serving jail terms.
Dewani faces charges of conspiracy to commit murder, kidnapping, robbery with aggravating circumstances, and defeating the ends of justice. He was arrested in the United Kingdom in 2010 and was sent here earlier this year after a British court ruled that he should stand trial in South Africa.
The murder suspect is being held at a psychiatric hospital in Cape Town where he is under constant observation. Dewani's mental health has been under scrutiny after he attempted to commit suicide in 2011.
Speaking on the eve of the trial's start, Anni Dewani's uncle, Ashok Hindocha, said the family's wait for justice has been "agonizing" and they want answers so they can mourn properly.
"We have been let down for four years by the justice system. We have been to every court case, in England and South Africa, thinking: 'How can we come to a closure?' Now we know we are coming to an end," said Hindocha, speaking to the Press Association. Members of the victim's family arrived in Cape Town where they will stay for the duration of the trial.
Prosecutors argue that Dewani paid Cape Town residents Zola Tongo, Mziwamadoda Qwabe and Xolile Mngeni to kill his wife. Dewani claimed he and his wife were hijacked and kidnapped at gunpoint in November 2010. During the incident Dewani was released unharmed, while Anni was shot in the neck and died.
Unlike the Pistorius case, the trial will not be broadcast live on television because of fears the media attention would exacerbate Dewani's mental state, further delaying the trial.
Up to seven members of Anni's family are due to attend various stages of the hearing, including her mother Nilam Hindocha, having recently undergone radiotherapy for cancer.
Prosecutors argue that Dewani conspired with Cape Town residents Zola Tongo, Mziwamadoda Qwabe and Xolile Mngeni to kill his wife.
Taxi driver Tongo, Qwabe and Mngeni are already serving jail terms in connection with the murder.
Dewani claimed he and his wife were kidnapped at gunpoint as they drove through Gugulethu in Cape Town in a taxi. Dewani was released unharmed, but his wife's body was found in the abandoned car the next day. She had been shot dead.
The trial, before judge Jeanette Traverso, is expected to offer harrowing detail on the circumstances surrounding Anni Dewani's death.
Members of the victim's family have travelled from Sweden, where she was raised, to attend the hearing, which is expected to last for around two months.
It is not yet known whether Dewani will be giving evidence in his defence.Suggest a correction