Lies, errors and inconsistencies: The testimonies which cleared Shrien Dewani

Shrien Dewani and wife Anni Credit: PA

For the prosecuting lawyers who spent years trying to extradite and jail Shrien Dewani, a lack of confidence was never their problem — a lack of evidence was.

And now, Deputy Judge President Jeanette Traverso has concluded that the case against him is so flimsy that it should be thrown out: in other words, she believes there is no prospect of finding him guilty of arranging the murder of his wife.

Yet, the sudden end to this trial has followed four years of bravado from police and prosecuting authorities about the strength of their case. Frequently, officials indicated that once Mr Dewani’s long extradition process was over, his conviction in a Cape Town court would be the easy bit.

Speaking a few months after the killing of Anni Dewani, and years before the start of Shrien Dewani's trial, South Africa’s police chief General Bheki Cele typified the confidence of the country’s legal authorities, by calling the suspect "a monkey (who) came all the way from London to have his wife murdered…”

Dewani was accused of hiring two hit men to kill his new bride shortly after they arrived in Cape Town for their honeymoon in November 2010. It was alleged that he wanted to get out of the marriage and had visited gay dating websites a few days after the killing.

But with the prosecution case reliant on the testimonies of convicted killers, defence lawyers argued for a dismissal - and won.

For more than three years before that, Dewani had refused to return to South Africa - adding to the suspicion of prosecutors. He even hired PR executive Max Clifford as a spokesman. One of the many ironies of this case, of course, is that it is Clifford who is now in jail.

Shrien Dewani was extradited from the UK to stand trial in South Africa Credit: PA

But there was PR from the South African authorities too. For some detectives and prosecutors working on the case, seeking Dewani’s conviction became not only a personal mission but a patriotic one: the idea that a tourist would be able to swiftly commission the murder of his wife - hours after arriving off the plane - seemed to support the worst fears that visitors have about their country.

But now, the prosecuting authority that failed to secure a murder conviction against Oscar Pistorius has now been shamed - their past bravado about Mr Dewani exposed as hubris.

Despite their long fight to bring him to South Africa to face justice, he will now soon be heading back to London.