Shrien Dewani, a British businessman who was accused of arranging the murder of his wife, Anni, on their honeymoon in South Africa, was acquitted Monday as the judge ruled there was not enough evidence to prove the 34-year-old guilty. Prosecutors had alleged that Dewani had plotted with three people to kill his 28-year-old wife in November 2010.
Cape Town judge Jeanette Traverso reportedly declared that Dewani was not guilty of charges that he planned the murder of his wife and that the prosecution’s case was entirely based on witness testimonies with no concrete evidence. She added that the evidence of the main witness, taxi driver Zola Tongo, was "riddled with contradictions" and "highly debatable.” The judgment in the case cannot be appealed, The Guardian reported. The case was dropped after the judge heard six weeks of prosecution evidence beginning in October.
"There is no evidence on which a reasonable man can convict the accused," Traverso reportedly said, adding that the main testimony came from a “self-confessed liar” who “does not know where the truth ends and a lie begins.”
The evidence in the murder case was reportedly so poor that the only way Dewani might have been convicted was if he confessed to the alleged crime, The Guardian reported. State prosecutors reportedly argued that Dewani paid $1,300 to kidnap and murder his wife, but the prosecution’s 16 witnesses reportedly failed to prove that Dewani, who was extradited this year to face trial, was guilty.
"Today we feel as a family that the justice system has failed us," Anni's sister, Ami Denborg, said, while expressing her disappointment over the judgment, according to Reuters.
On Nov. 13, 2010, a taxi carrying Anni and Dewani was hijacked from a Cape Town township by two people, who robbed the couple and later shot Anni. The three suspects reportedly confessed to their involvement in the murder, and claimed that Dewani had paid them to kill his wife of two weeks.
The three men -- Tongo, Mziwamadoda Qwabe and gunman Xolile Mngeni, have already been convicted of Anni's murder. Tongo is reportedly serving an 18-year jail sentence, Qwabe is serving 25 years, while Mngeni died in prison of a brain tumor earlier this year.