Thursday, 9 October 2014

Is Shrien Dewani Guilty?

Shrien Dewani’s trial has been underway at Cape Town for two days now. Since Leopold Leisser, a German male prostitute is expected to give evidence that Shrien paid for sex sessions with him, Shrien pre-emptively admitted to being a bi-sexual who paid for sex with other men. Apparently, his affairs with men were non-emotional and merely physical, whilst his relationships with women were otherwise.
A British parliamentary aide is also expected to give evidence to the effect that he had gay sex with Shrien many times. Shrien is said to like S&M and was a frequent visitor to The Hoist gay nightclub at Vauxhall and other gay bars in London. Leisser has claimed that Dewani asked to be humiliated and racially abused. Even after he was married to Anni, Shrien logged into gay websites such as Gaydar and Recon.

A lot will depend on the testimony of taxi driver Zola Tongo who claims to have been paid by Shrien to arrange his wife’s murder and make it look like a car-jacking. Zola Tongo and two other men, Mziwamadoda Qwabe and Xolile Mngeni, have already been convicted for their roles in Anni’s killing.

In April 2014, I had wondered in this post if Shrien Dewani is gay, assuming that a gay Shrien would have a motive for having his wife Anni Dewani murdered by a hit man. Now that Shrien has confessed that he is a bisexual, does it mean that he is definitely guilty? Not necessarily. It’s like this. Let’s assume that Shrien is speaking the truth when he says that he pursued Anni and asked her to marry him. Either Shrien was under pressure from his family to “get married and settle down” or he himself wanted to find a partner who would allow him to meet the expectations of his Indian family or Shrien genuinely loved Anni. If Shrien genuinely loved Anni, then obviously he is not guilty. If Shrien married Anni without any pressure from his family, but in order to meet his family’s expectations, then there is a lesser chance that he wanted her dead. It can still be argued that having married Anni and made his parents happy, Shrien may have wanted Anni to disappear from this world. As a widower, he would face a lot less pressure to remarry. If it comes out that Shrien’s parents forced him to marry Anni, say with the threat of disinheritance, then the chances are much higher that Shrien is guilty.

Let’s assume that three percentage of the world’s population is gay and another seven percent is bisexual. In communities where arranged marriages are common, this would mean that ten percent of men and women getting married are closet homosexuals and do not particularly want to get married or get married to either meet social expectations and to prevent tongues wagging. Having got married, would anyone want to get rid of the spouse? Consider a man buying an expensive car which he doesn't really need and which is high maintenance, just to show off. Would the buyer then sabotage the car because it is high maintenance and is something he doesn't really need.

Shrien claims that he had informed Anni about his testosterone levels and the possibility that he might not have a child. It is not clear if this claim is backed up with evidence. Did Shrien also disclose to Anni that he is a bisexual who has in the past paid for male prostitutes? Pretty unlikely. Will the prosecution be able to disprove Shrien’s claim that he has had many relationships with other women in the past?

What are the chances that Anni finally figured out that Shrien was either gay or bisexual? Actually, they are pretty high. I am assuming that the couple did not sleep together till they got married. In any event, they had not lived in. I am also assuming that Anni (who grew up in Sweden) had some experience of relationships on her own. Most probably she too had agreed to marry Shrien to meet her own parent’s expectations. She might have figured out within a few days of marriage that Shrien is not your normal heterosexual man. How would she have reacted? Brought up in Sweden, Anni might have done some plain-speaking. Did she threaten to leave him? Did an angry Shrien then hire a hitman to kill his wife when they reached South Africa? Or is Shrien just another closet homosexual who did the standard Indian thingee to please his parents and then happened to get very unlucky in South Africa?

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