Honeymoon slaying suspect attends SAfrican court

June 20, 2014 - 11:34 AM
South Africa Dewani Court

Murder accused Shrien Dewani leaves the High Court after a brief appearance in Cape Town, South Africa, Friday, June 20, 2014. Dewani is accused of arranging the killing of his wife, Anni, on their honeymoon in South Africa, November 2010, his court case was postponed. (AP Photo/Schalk van Zuydam)

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — The murder trial of a British man accused of arranging the killing of his wife on their honeymoon in South Africa could start in early October, a spokesman for prosecutors said Friday.

Suspect Shrien Dewani attended a pre-trial hearing in the Western Cape High Court, which ordered that he undergo psychiatric observation at a hospital where he has been held for treatment since his extradition from Britain in April. Lawyers for Dewani, who fought a legal battle over extradition that lasted years, previously said he was stressed and unfit to stand trial.

Dewani's mental health is improving so that he could go on trial on Oct. 6 at the earliest, said Nathi Mncube, a spokesman for the National Prosecution Authority.

Prosecutors asked for a postponement in the case to allow for a full evaluation of Dewani's mental condition because it could determine whether he is fit to stand trial, the South African Press Association reported.

In court, Dewani nodded as Judge President John Hlophe explained the postponement. Members of the suspect's family attended the hearing.

Dewani's bride, Anni, was found shot dead in an abandoned taxi in a poor area of Cape Town in 2010. Dewani, who denies wrongdoing, is accused of hiring men to kill her and make it look like a botched carjacking. Three men have been convicted for the murder.