A man on trial for Anni Dewani's murder was assaulted and tortured in the basement of a police building, the Western Cape High Court heard on Monday.
Xolile Mngeni was led to the basement of the Directorate of Priority Crime Investigation building in Bellville shortly after his arrest on 16 November 2010, his lawyer Qalisile Dayimani claimed.
It was there that his hands were cuffed to the back of the chair and he was "severely assaulted and beaten by Constable Mbali".
"It was at this basement where the accused had his testicles slammed into the drawer of a desk that was there... and had an evidence bag placed over his head and was suffocated," the lawyer told the court.
Mngeni is on trial for the hijacking, robbery, and murder of Dewani in Gugulethu on 13 November 2010. She and her husband Shrien were on honeymoon at the time.
The policeman who arrested Mngeni, Lt-Col Bonginkosi Kwinana, was under cross-examination by the defence.
Kwinana's testimony forms part of a trial-within-a-trial to determine whether a "confession" by Mngeni can be admitted as evidence.
He repeatedly denied the assertions of assault put to him by the defence.
Kwinana said that, to the best of his knowledge, Mngeni had never been in any basement. He was also not assaulted while in his presence, which happened to be most of that morning before he was placed back in the holding cells.
Dayimani said it was his instruction that Mngeni was taken from the basement to a vehicle, to show officers where his accomplice "Mawewe" stayed.
"On the road to Khayelitsha, he was constantly beaten and you were sitting next to him at the back of the [charcoal or black] double cab bakkie," the lawyer put it to Kwinana.
The policeman replied that Mngeni was lying and that the unit had driven in a maroon Toyota RunX.
"I wouldn't allow anyone to assault him as I am a senior officer of the police," he told the court.
The lawyer claimed Mngeni had not led police to various places where his alleged accomplice "Mawewe" might be, as Kwinana had testified.
Dayimani said it was Mawewe's girlfriend who took police to C-section, in Khayelitsha, where the man could still not be found.
"He [Mngeni] is the one who took us to various addresses," Kwinana said.
Dayimani wrapped up his cross-examination before lunch and Kwinana was allowed to leave the stand.
Deputy director of public prosecutions Adrian Mopp said the defence continued to make allegations of assault and to link individuals to these allegations without advance notice. He said this had left the State unprepared.
The trial was adjourned until 2pm, for the State to track down its next witness.
The court heard the trial was set down to continue from 8 October to 18 November, after a two-week recess.
Mopp said the trial could be completed before that time.