May 12, 2014 / 10:19 AM / 6 years ago

Briton Dewani appears in South African court in 'honeymoon murder' case

Shrien Dewani (2nd R) arrives with supporters for his extradition hearing, at Belmarsh Magistrates' Court in London May 3, 2011 file photo. REUTERS/Paul Hackett

CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - British businessman Shrien Dewani, who was extradited to South Africa to face charges of planning the murder of his bride while on honeymoon in 2010, appeared briefly in court on Monday pending a trial date for his case.

Dewani, who is being treated for post-traumatic stress and depression after the killing of his Swedish wife Anni, has been showing signs of “improvement”, his legal team said.

“We have been informed that he is fully co-operative and that his condition has improved,” defence lawyer Francois van Zyl said. Court proceedings will resume on June 20, when a date for the trial is likely to be set.

Dewani, 34, arrived in Cape Town last month after losing a three-year battle in Britain to avoid facing trial in South Africa, where three of his co-accused implicated him in the murder of his former model wife.

He denies conspiring to kill his wife.

Dewani, who has been unable to properly consult with his defence team because of a short attention span of no longer than 30 minutes, will remain in custody at state-run Valkenberg psychiatric hospital until June, Van Zyl said.

The Briton, whose family was present in the packed South African court on Monday, faces five charges, including murder, kidnapping, robbery with aggravating circumstances and obstructing the administration of justice. If found guilty, he faces up to 25 years in prison.

Anni Dewani was shot dead in a taxi in November 2010 in Khayelitsha township on the outskirts of Cape Town.

Three of his co-accused are serving lengthy jail sentences after accepting plea bargains for their part in the crime.

Reporting by Wendell Roelf; Editing by Stella Mapenzauswa and Susan Fenton

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