Jean-Jacques Cornish

Alleged wife murderer fit to stand trial

Western Cape judge president John Hlope’s ruled that British millionaire businessman Shrien Dewani,  suspected of the 2010 honeymoon murder of his wife in Cape Town five years ago,  is fit to stand trial.

The greying accused, who fought unsuccessfully for three years to avoid extradition from Britain,  looked on calmly as he heard his trial will begin on October 6.

Judge John Hlope’s ruling follows receipt of an expert assessment of Shrien Dewani, who was extradited from Britain in April, stating that the businessman’s not mentally ill.

Dewani denies the accusation that he hired three South Africans to kill his 28-year-old Swedish bride Anni Dewani in Cape Town in November 2010.

He claimed at the time that he and his wife were hijacked during their honeymoon.

He escaped unharmed. His wife was shot dead. Her body was discovered the following day.

Three South Africans have been tried and convicted for their role in Annie Dewani’s death.

Enfuriated South Africans say Dewani used the country’s reputation for violent crime as a cover for his murder plans.

The prosecution is expected to argue that Dewani is gay and was lethally kicking back against a marriage arranged by his family.

Dewani’s defence advocate Francois van Zyl  indicated they won’t contest the ruling.

Prosecutor Rodney  de Kok says he’s pleased at the outcome.

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Jean-Jacques Cornish is a journalist and broadcaster who has been involved in the media all his adult life.

Starting as a reporter on his hometown newspaper, he moved briefly to then Rhodesia before returning to South Africa to become a parliamentary correspondent with the South African Press Association. He was sent to London as Sapa’s London editor and also served as special correspondent to the United Nations. He joined the then Argus group in London as political correspondent.

Returning to South Africa after 12 years abroad, he was assistant editor on the Pretoria News for a decade before becoming editor of the Star and SA Times for five years.

Since 1999 he’s been an independent journalist writing and broadcasting – mainly about Africa – for Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape
Talk, Radio France International, PressTV, Radio Live New Zealand, Business Day, Mail & Guardian, the BBC, Agence France Press,
Business in Africa, Leadership, India Today, the South African Institute for International Affairs and the Institute for Security Studies.

He has hosted current affairs talk shows on Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape Talk. He appears as an African affairs pundit on SABC Africa and CNBC Africa.
He lectured in contemporary studies to journalism students at the Tshwane University of Technology and the University of Pretoria.

He speaks on African affairs to corporate and other audiences.
He has been officially invited as a journalist to more than 30 countries. He was the winner of the 2007 SADC award for radio journalism.

He’s been a member of the EISA team observing elections in Somaliland, Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, Zimbabwe, Egypt and Tunsiai.

In October 2009 he headed a group of 39 African journalists to the 60th anniversary celebrations of the Peoples’ Republic of China.

In January 2010 he joined a rescue and paramedical team to earthquake struck Haiti.

He is immediate past president of the Alliance Francaise of Pretoria.

Jean-Jacques is a director of Giant Media. The company was given access to Nelson Mandela in his retirement years until 2009.
He is co-producer of the hour-long documentary Mandela at 90 that was broadcast on BBC in January 2009.