Dewani cop didn’t ace it

15 October 2014 - 03:29 By Philani Nombembe and Nashira Davids

Where was God when Anni Dewani died? This was the question asked by a police warrant officer giving evidence in the Cape Town High Court yesterday.

George Stephanus was the first policeman to take a statement from Shrien Dewani in the early hours of November 14 2010.

He was lambasted for taking down a statement that  lacked such basic details as Dewani’s address and phone number.

In cross-examination, Dewani’s counsel, Francois van Zyl, asked whether the statement had been made under oath.

“Mr Dewani was emotional. And  ... with me asking him to say coming with ‘So help me God’ …

“Where was God at such a time?” said Stephanus, to laughter from the courtroom gallery.

Stephanus testified that he was an expert at taking statements but admitted he had lost his pocket book.

He said the taking of Dewani’s statement ended at exactly 4.10am at the Cape Grace Hotel, where the Dewanis were staying.

But Van Zyl produced CCTV footage that showed Dewani moving around the hotel before 4.10am.

“Your memory is not as good as it used to be,” Van Zyl said told Stephanus. 

The  state then called Maria Bravetti, who allegedly peddles foreign currency on the black market.

Van Zyl warned her that she might incriminate herself in her testimony. But Bravetti persisted, testifying that shuttle operator Zola Tongo — who was has been convicted of Anni’s murder — brought Dewani to her shop on the day before the murder. She said Dewani exchanged US $1000 for R10200.

Van Zyl disputed this, claiming that Dewani had only British pounds.

The trial is due to resume on Monday.