JOHANNESBURG – A British man accused of killing his wife while they were on honeymoon in Cape Town was acquitted of murder on Monday after a South African judge concluded that the prosecution's case did not have sufficient evidence.
Shrien Dewani promptly descended stairs leading out of the courtroom following the not guilty ruling by Cape Town High Court Judge Jeanette Traverso. His immediate whereabouts were not known.
Traverso delivered the ruling after deliberating for two weeks on arguments by Dewani's lawyers that the case should be dismissed due to a lack of evidence. She said the prosecution's case did not meet judicial standards requiring reasonable and probable cause to believe that the accused was guilty.
"In my view, the evidence presented in this case falls far below this threshold," Traverso said. "The accused is found not guilty on this charge."
Dewani had been accused of arranging the murder of his wife Anni in 2010. He had said she was killed during a botched carjacking.
The state's key witness, Zola Tongo, had said Dewani paid him to hire two men to carry out the murder. Traverso, however, said Tongo's testimony was riddled with contradictions.