Panorama put Mngeni on a pedestal because they claim he was the only gang member not to have entered into a plea bargain with the prosecution, effectively portraying him as a good guy.
They used various camera techniques to portray Mngeni in a more positive light, by showing bright pictures of him smiling, showing sympathy-gathering photos of him on crutches struggling into court. Contrast this with portrayals of other gang members Tongo, Qwabe and Mbolombo who are represented by actors and presented in stereotypical accents with monotonic voices in dark background sets and frequently labelled as “liars” by the presenter Jeremy Vine.
Mngeni is one of the men convicted of carjacking, robbing and killing Anni. He was found to have pulled the trigger. He has been jailed for life.
Mngeni initially co-operated with police, fully confessing his involvement in the fake carjacking, robbery and murder and voluntarily doing a ‘pointing out’ of the crime scenes (which was recorded on video).
But as his trial date approached, Mngeni suddenly decided to change his plea to ‘not guilty’. He had claimed he had been beaten by police previously to make a confession.
Dewani’s PR agent Max Clifford made a huge song and dance about these alleged claims of torture. He was shouting them from the rooftops at every opportunity he got (well at least Clifford was before he was arrested and charged for sexual offences against youngsters, and now awaits trial denying the charges).
But there was no medical or witness evidence to support Mngeni’s claims of torture. A report produced after a full independent investigation rejected his claims. All of his confession was matched up to forensic records, multiple witness statements and phone records.
Mngeni continued to plead not guilty and a trial was set. Mngeni’s private lawyer was initially cagey about revealing how his legal fees were being funded. But when pressed by the media, he claimed that a ‘human rights guy’ from Kenya, allegedly called Mr Edmondo, had volunteered to fund Mngeni’s defence.
Is it believable that a man accused of murdering a tourist in South Africa would have his defence funded by some mystery unknown person in Kenya? There is no public record of any ‘Mr Edmondo’ ever having funded any defendant in South Africa before, let alone a murder suspect who has previous criminal convictions, and who denied being at the scene but his palm and fingerprints were all over the carjacked vehicle and multiple witnesses corroborated his movements that night to coincide with the murder.
Mngeni’s lawyer Dayimani is quoted: “Some human rights guys are paying my fees. It is all on the level.” (Mail & Guardian, 24 Aug 2012)
At trial, Mngeni now denied everything and this forced the prosecution to prove every point of evidence in their case. Who would possibility want to know the full details of the prosecution’s case and who would this information benefit? The other three accused men had all confessed already – except Shrien Dewani.
The prosecution suspected that Mngeni’s defence was being run for an ulterior motive, not connected to Mngeni’s interests, of forcing the prosecution to disclose evidence which might be used in a trial of Shrien Dewani.
The following unusual aspects are noteworthy, yet Panorama decided not to refer to any of them:
- Mngeni’s lawyer asked for court transcripts, purportedly to facilitate Mngeni’s understanding of the trial.
- The prosecution at one point directly challenged a line of questioning by the defence, accusing Mngeni’s lawyer of ‘fishing’ for evidence unrelated to Mngeni’s case.
- Dayimani attempted to ask Anni’s father Vinod Hindocha on the witness stand if he had approved of Anni’s marriage to Shrien Dewani. What relevance did this possibly to have to Mngeni’s defence? The objection was initially overruled, but then upheld at the very next question, the judge ordering that the witness Mr Hindocha be discharged immediately with no further questions.
- The prosecution case against Mngeni was overwhelming with over 25 witnesses including phone experts, forensic experts, doctors and others, plus phone records helping to convict him and highlighting the futility of his many denials and lies. This led many commentators to question how it could possibly be in Mngeni’s interests to deny all the evidence, and thus incur the wrath of the court and remove any possibility of getting a lesser sentence for co-operation.
- Shrien Dewani and his family did absolutely nothing to support the prosecution in convicting Mngeni, the man who pulled the trigger that killed Anni; the wife who Shrien Dewani claims he loved and whose loss has caused him PTSD and depression.
- When Mngeni was convicted, the Dewani family did not make any public statement (as they routinely have done in this case otherwise) to appreciate the conviction. Yet this was the man who had apparently caused Shrien Dewani to become “a widower at the age of 30” and was responsible for Shrien’s ‘Depression and PTSD’ for all these years. But there was a deafening silence from them.
Who really funded murderer Mngeni’s defence lawyer and who benefited from the prosecution material that was disclosed as a result?
It was predicted by some commentators during Mngeni’s trial, that the fact of Mngeni’s ‘Not Guilty’ plea, no matter how ridiculous and ill-founded, would later be used to bolster Shrien Dewani’s defence claims. With the Panorama program of 2013 using that same material, that prediction has been proven.
Panorama extensively quoted Mngeni’s statements but failed to point out that his original confession, as recorded on video, was corroborated by the forensic evidence and by the statements of multiple other witnesses and it was accepted by the Western Cape High Court. Mngeni is not appealing his 25 year conviction.
Panorama conveniently ignores the Western Cape High Court’s judgment, published following an open trial with fully detailed reasons – that Mngeni’s version of events “is rejected as false. It is not reasonably possibly true.”
This finding by the Western Cape High Court did not worry Panorama, who quite happily use the proven liar’s statements selectively as some kind of ‘evidence’ in support of Shrien Dewani’s defence claims.
Panorama claims that Mngeni’s statements match Shrien Dewani’s statements so suggested the two of them must be truth tellers, and the others (who had implicated Dewani in the plot) had lied in order to get lesser sentences or immunity.
This supposed congruence between Mngeni’s and Shrien’s statements is proven to be a totally false confabulation, only achieved by outright misrepresentation of the evidence. (See ‘MY ENEMY’S ENEMY IS MY WIFE’S MURDERER’ for fuller details.)
For example, Shrien Dewani said he was physically forced out of the window of a moving car due to child locks being on, landing on his shoulder and forehead. This is recorded on tape by Nick Parker of The Sun. But Mngeni says Dewani was told to leave the car and go to the nearby houses. He is also reported to have told a prison warden Dewani got out of the car door and walked away.
“Walked out using the car door” or was “forced through the window of a moving car” onto the floor? Those are two totally different stories. This clear difference between Dewani’s statement and Mngeni’s statement proves that one of them is a liar.
But Jeremy Vine on Panorama portrayed Mngeni and murder suspect Dewani as saying the same things, and failed to report the very significant discrepancies between them.