‘...I would set aside the whole of the court a quo’s or­der and re­place it with an or­der ac­quit­ting the ap­pel­lant’

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fam­ily to aban­don the farm­ing en­ter­prise and have noth­ing more to do with the de­ceased. She may also have been wor­ried that Lou­dine would de­camp with Casper, leav­ing her com­pletely iso­lated from all her chil­dren. The prospect of a life lived solely with the de­ceased may have pressed down on her more heav­ily than his cruel treat­ment of her.”

He stated also that in­so­far as foren­sic pathol­ogy was con­cerned, both the doc­tors who tes­ti­fied, (Dr De la Ray for the State and Pro­fes­sor Lof­tus for the de­fence) ac­cepted that the find­ings were com­pat­i­ble with sui­cide.

“Lof­tus went fur­ther, say­ing that the find­ings were ‘highly com­pat­i­ble’ with sui­cide, that there was ‘no sci­en­tific rea­son’ to think that the wounds were in­flicted by some­one else but that he could not ex­clude the pos­si­bil­ity of mur­der be­cause ‘there are per­fect crimes’.

“The med­i­cal ev­i­dence is com­pat­i­ble with sui­cide and mur­der. How­ever, if one as­sumes for the mo­ment that the first shot was the one that did not pen­e­trate the brain, the agreed con­clu­sion by the two ex­perts that the de­ceased would have been able to talk, move and fire a fur­ther shot is im­por­tant.”

Judge Rogers pointed out that the State was re­quired to prove the ap­pel­lant’s guilt be­yond rea­son­able doubt.

“The only part of her tes­ti­mony where im­prob­a­bil­ity or co­in­ci­dence re­ally looms is her ver­sion about the re­moval of the night­clothes and her sur­mise as to how the gloves must have found their way onto the dis­carded night­clothes. The im­prob­a­bil­ity of her ver­sion about the re­moval of the gloves is not so great as to jus­tify a con­clu­sion that it was false be­yond rea­son­able doubt. I thus think the court a quo erred in con­vict­ing her.

“If there is no ev­i­dence on which a rea­son­able per­son might con­vict, the ac­cused should be dis­charged. In the present case, there prob­a­bly was ev­i­dence on which a rea­son­able per­son might have been con­victed.

“For all th­ese rea­sons I would set aside the whole of the court a quo’s or­der and re­place it with an or­der ac­quit­ting the ap­pel­lant.”

Act­ing Court of Ap­peal Judge T Gor­ven (with Ap­peal Court Judge Azhar Cachalia con­cur­ring) con­curred with Mbatha that the ap­peal against the con­vic­tion should be dis­missed. He added that it was his view that the Koekie’s ver­sion was false be­yond rea­son­able doubt and was cor­rectly re­jected by the trial court.

“Nei­ther Dr Panieri-Pe­ter nor the foren­sic ex­perts were able to de­ter­mine whether the death of the de­ceased was as a re­sult of homi­cide or sui­cide. There are fac­tors which sup­port both con­clu­sions. The an­swer must be sought in the prob­a­bil­i­ties.

“All in all, there are far too many gross im­prob­a­bil­i­ties for it to be held that the ver­sion of the ap­pel­lant is rea­son­ably pos­si­bly true. It was prop­erly re­jected as false.”

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