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Complaint lodged against judge in Shrien Dewani trial

A formal complaint has been lodged against the judge presiding over the murder trial of British businessman Shrien Dewani amid allegations of bias Credit: ITV News

A formal complaint has been lodged against the judge who presided over the murder trial of British businessman Shrien Dewani in South Africa last year.

The Higher Education Transformation Network - a group of academics and lawyers - accused Judge Jeanette Traverso of "gross judicial bias and misconduct" after she dismissed claims Mr Dewani organised the murder of his wife Anni while on their honeymoon in Cape Town in 2010.

The judge called a halt to the trial in December, two months into the hearing, after an application from the 34-year-old's lawyers that the prosecution case was flawed.

Judge Jeanette Traverso Credit: RTV

HETN chairman Lucky Thekisho said: "Article five of the Judicial Code of Ethics requires judges to act honourably not only in the discharge of official duties but to act honourably and in a manner befitting judicial office in a professional manner that enhances the public trust in or respect for the judiciary and the judicial system."

Lawyer Mr Thekisho urged South African judicial authorities to suspend Judge Traverso pending an investigation.

Ashok Hindocha, Anni Dewani's uncle, said: "We agree that Anni did not get a fair trial.

"The case was not fully heard, she (judge Traverso) should have let Shrien take the stand."

Quarter of a million pound bill for extraditing Dewani

Shrien Dewani at a bail hearing before he was extradited to South Africa for trial Credit: PA

Extraditing cleared honeymoon murder suspect Shrien Dewani to face trial in South Africa cost the British taxpayer around £250,000, according to reports.

A Freedom of Information (FOI) request by the Daily Mirror suggested the Crown Prosecution Service spent a total of £136,520 on QCs and junior counsel to argue the case in court, while a further £23,464 was spent on psychiatric assessments of the Bristol-based businessman.

Mr Dewani, 34, fought a long UK court battle against extradition before being cleared of murdering his wife Anni who was shot dead in Cape Town during their honeymoon in South Africa in 2010.

Three men already serving jail terms for their role in the killing claimed Mr Dewani arranged a hijacking-gone wrong in which he would survive and his wife would be killed, but a judge in South Africa ruled their evidence was flawed and the case was thrown out before he could give evidence.

The Mirror also said FOI figures showed CPS solicitors spent 496 hours on the case, adding a further #34,000 to the public's bill, while police, transport and medical costs made the total around £250,000.

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Shrien Dewani's Bristol home is attacked by vandals

The driveway of Shrien Dewani's home in Bristol has been covered in white paint Credit: ITV News

The home of honeymoon murder suspect Shrien Dewani has been attacked by vandals, days after he was freed by a South African court.

A large amount of white paint was splashed on the tarmac driveway outside the electronic gates of the £1.5 million villa in Bristol. The Dewani family have hired a private security firm, which has put up a sign warning that the property is being guarded and protected 24 hours a day.

Shrien Dewani leaves court after being cleared of murdering his wife Anni in Cape Town in 2010 Credit: ITV News

The paint appeared overnight after reporters spent all day waiting in vain for the return of the 34-year-old.

He was dramatically cleared of arranging the murder of his wife Anni in 2010 and allowed to return to the UK on Wednesday. Dewani is believed to be staying in London before returning to his home in the Westbury-on-Trym area of Bristol.

The big detached property, which is shielded from the road, is owned by his family, who run a care home empire in the West Country.

Shrien Dewani had always denied plotting to arrange the murder of his wife, who was shot after their taxi was hijacked while the couple were on their honeymoon.

But his wife's family are now threatening a private prosecution against him.

Media told Shrien Dewani isn't coming back to Bristol today

Journalists camped outside Shrien Dewani's Bristol home await his return Credit: ITV News

Journalists are camped outside Shrien Dewani's house in Bristol awaiting his return from South Africa.

On Monday Judge Jeanette Traverso cleared Dewani of murder after ruling the prosecution case that the bisexual care home boss had arranged the death of his wife Anni was flawed.

A woman who walked down the private drive from Mr Dewani's home in Westbury on Trym said: "I do know he's not coming today. Tomorrow ... I asked the family."

Asked how Mr Dewani and his family were, the woman, who did not give her name, replied: "They are happy, happy."

The millionaire businessman's home - called Prabhu Krupa Villa - is not clearly visible from the busy road connecting Bristol to the M5, where it is accessed through electric gates and a steep driveway.

Media camp outside Shrien Dewani's Bristol home awaiting his return

Former murder suspect Shrien Dewani has arrived back in the UK after being cleared of plotting his wife's death on their honeymoon in South Africa four years ago.

He flew into Gatwick early this morning. Media are camped outside his home in Bristol, awaiting his return.

Mr Dewani was extradited to South Africa in April, having suffered from severe post-traumatic stress and depression. His trial began in October.

But earlier this week at the Western Cape High Court, Judge Jeanette Traverso dismissed the case after criticising the quality of the prosecution's case.

Press have gathered outside Shrien Dewani's house in Westbury-on-Trym Credit: ITV News

Dewani arrives back in the UK

Shrien Dewani arrives back in the UK after being cleared of his wife's murder Credit: ITV News

Former murder suspect Shrien Dewani has arrived back in the UK after being cleared of plotting his wife's death on their honeymoon four years ago.

The Bristol businessman left Gatwick Airport through a side entrance which was guarded by police before being driven away in a black people carrier shortly before 7am.

He is believed to have flown in from Dubai rather than taking a 12-hour direct flight from Cape Town to the UK. He was extradited to South Africa in April.

On Monday Judge Jeanette Traverso cleared Dewani after ruling the prosecution case that he had arranged the death of his wife Anni was flawed.

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Shrien Dewani leaves Cape Town

Shrien Dewani leaves Cape Town after being cleared of his wife's murder Credit: ITV News

Former murder suspect Shrien Dewani has left Cape Town after being cleared of plotting his wife's death on their honeymoon four years ago.

Dewani made no comment as he walked through the airport in Cape Town surrounded by a media scrum.

The millionaire businessman faced a barrage of questions from reporters as he headed straight for the boarding gate.

He is due to fly to Gatwick via Dubai and is expected to land in the UK tomorrow morning.

Yesterday Judge Jeanette Traverso cleared Dewani after ruling that the prosecution case - that the bisexual care home boss had arranged the death of his wife Anni - was flawed.

Anni's family will decide whether to launch civil action against Shrien Dewani

Anni Dewani was killed while on honeymoon in South Africa Credit: ITV News

The family of honeymoon murder victim Anni Dewani will decide after Christmas whether to launch a civil action against her husband Shrien, who was cleared by a South African judge of arranging the death of his new wife.

Dewani is now free to return home to the UK after Judge Jeanette Traverso dismissed the case against him, describing evidence from a key prosecution witness as being "riddled with contradictions".

The collapse of the trial in Cape Town left his wife's family devastated, and Anni's uncle, Ashok Hindocha, said they were exploring the possibility of legal action in the bid to find answers.

The family waited four years for the case to be brought against the 34-year-old businessman from Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol, who had been accused of staging the carjacking in which she was gunned down.

Mr Hindocha said the decision to halt the trial before Dewani gave evidence meant there were "holes to be filled" in the story about his niece's final days.

The judge in South Africa dismissed the case against Shrien Dewani and he is now free to return home Credit: ITV News

Drawing on evidence that Dewani had secret relationships with gay men in the months before his marriage, Mr Hindocha said: "Srhien Dewani has lied to us from day one."

He said a decision on how to proceed will be taken after the family spend Christmas together at their home in Sweden.

"We wanted the truth and we didn't get it," he said.

"We went to South Africa with a lot of questions, to seek for answers; now we are coming home with more questions and more sleepless nights.

"That is not fair, this is not justice, Anni did not get a fair trial in South Africa."

Asked about the prospect of a legal case in the UK, he said the family were "looking at all the options."

Dewani heaved a sigh of relief in court as the judge dismissed the case against him. He left the court a short time later via a side gate, declining to comment.

Anni was murdered shortly after her wedding to Shrien Dewani Credit: ITV News

Three men - Zola Tongo, Mziwamadoda Qwabe and gunman Xolile Mngeni - have already been convicted for their part in Anni's murder, which happened when the Dewanis' chauffeur-driven late-night tour of a township was hijacked. Monde Mbolombo, a self-confessed "middle man" who set up the murder, may also face justice, having previously been granted immunity by the state.

Prosecutors said bisexual Dewani had long planned to get out of the relationship to Swedish-raised engineer Anni, 28, and arranged a carjacking on their honeymoon in Cape Town in November 2010 in which he would escape unharmed and Anni would be killed.

But Dewani's defence team criticised prosecution witnesses and said the case against him was weak.

Judge Traverso said chief prosecution witness cab driver Tongo's claims about the murder were "riddled with contradictions" and "highly debatable".

The judge said the evidence presented by the prosecution fell "far below" the required threshold.

Dewani, who was finally extradited this year to face trial accused of planning the murder of his wife, listened intently as key evidence against him was criticised by the judge.

He heard her declare that the evidence from the three criminals already convicted over his bride's murder was "so improbable, with so many mistakes, lies and inconsistencies you cannot see where the lies ended and the truth begins".

The ruling ended a four-year wait for Dewani and his family to clear his name - a battle which has included lengthy spells in mental health units, lurid allegations about his private life and fighting extradition from the UK to face justice.

Dewani has yet to comment publicly on the case since extradition proceedings began, three weeks after Anni's death.

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Shrien Dewani set to return to Britain

Shrien Dewani is expected to return home to the UK after a South African judge cleared him of arranging the murder of his wife on their honeymoon.

Shrien Dewani leaving the dock moments after the case against him was dismissed yesterday Credit: Pool

The 34-year-old businessman, who has been in Cape Town since April, has yet to comment publicly on the case since extradition proceedings began, three weeks after Anni Dewani died.

Judge Jeanette Traverso dismissed the case against him yesterday, after evidence from prosecution witnesses was described as being "riddled with contradictions".

The ruling ended a four-year wait for Dewani and his family to clear his name - a battle which has included lengthy spells in mental health units, lurid allegations about his private life and fighting extradition from the UK to face justice.

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