Maqubela con­sid­er­ing bail ap­pli­ca­tion

Sen­tenc­ing will only start on November 20

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - FA­TIMA SCHROEDER

THANDI Maqubela could re­turn to the West­ern Cape High Court ear­lier than her sched­uled November 20 court ap­pear­ance in a fresh bid to be re­leased.

Her ad­vo­cate, Mar­ius Broeksma, yes­ter­day con­firmed she was con­sid­er­ing lodg­ing an ap­pli­ca­tion for bail.

How­ever, he was re­luc­tant to elab­o­rate be­cause he was still for­mally tak­ing in­struc­tions from her – barely 24 hours af­ter she was con­victed of the mur­der of her hus­band, Act­ing Judge Pa­trick Maqubela.

West­ern Cape spokesman for the Direc­torate of Pub­lic Pros­e­cu­tions, Eric Ntabazalila, said the State would op­pose such an ap­pli­ca­tion.

“Sec­tion 58 of the Crim­i­nal Pro­ce­dure Act states that bail lapses when con­victed,” he said.

Maqubela’s daugh­ters watched on Thurs­day as a court or­derly led their el­e­gantly dressed mother to the hold­ing cells of the West­ern Cape High Court min­utes af­ter Judge John Mur­phy con­victed her of their father’s mur­der, as well as charges of fraud and forgery.

She has been in the women’s sec­tion of Pollsmoor Prison since Judge Mur­phy re­fused to ex­tend her bail and in­di­cated that he was only pre­pared to en­ter­tain a for­mal ap­pli­ca­tion for her re­lease af­ter she was sen­tenced and ap­plied for leave to ap­peal.

Sen­tenc­ing pro­ce­dures will only start on November 20. Only then will Judge Mur­phy con­sider and im­pose sen­tence.

It is there­fore likely that Maqubela will have to re­main in cus­tody for sev­eral weeks.

In a 225- page judg­ment com­pleted on Thurs­day af­ter­noon, Judge Mur­phy found that the act­ing judge was mur­dered and that his nurse­turned-busi­ness­woman widow killed him. How­ever, the cause of death was inconclusive.

Ex­plain­ing how he came to his ver­dict, Judge Mur­phy pointed out that much of the pros­e­cu­tion’s case was based on cir­cum­stan­tial ev­i­dence.

Judge Mur­phy said the court should care­fully weigh the cu­mu­la­tive ef­fect of all the ev­i­dence to­gether.

“The court must not take each pri­mary or se­condary fact or cir­cum­stance sep­a­rately and give the ac­cused the ben­e­fit of any rea­son­able doubt as to the in­fer­ence to be drawn from each one so taken,” he said.

These are some of the facts the court had to con­sider:

● In the months and weeks be­fore his death, the act­ing judge’s re­la­tion­ship with Maqubela de­te­ri­o­rated sig­nif­i­cantly. Hu­mil­i­ated and out­raged by her hus­band’s ex­tra­mar­i­tal con­duct, she went about ex­pos­ing his af­fairs to his friends, fam­ily, col­leagues and Jus­tice Min­is­ter Jeff Radebe, and con­fronted some of his lovers.

● Three weeks be­fore his death, she sought to ob­tain in­for­ma­tion about his life in­surance pol­icy of R20 mil­lion and find out the amount she stood to in­herit.

● Days be­fore the act­ing judge’s death she took steps to get The Sowe­tan to pub­lish the de­tails of his in­fi­delity.

● Shortly be­fore his death the act­ing judge ex­pressed a de­sire to leave his wife.

● Maqubela gave con­flict­ing ver­sions to var­i­ous peo­ple about whether her hus­band left be­fore or af­ter her on June 5, 2009.

● The act­ing judge most prob­a­bly died be­tween 1am and 11am on June 5, 2009.

● She left the flat at 10.30am and re­turned at about 2pm. She re­mained at the flat un­til shortly be­fore 7pm. She lied about her move­ment be­cause she knew that the truth would in­crim­i­nate her by plac­ing her at the scene at or af­ter the death.

● The cell­phone records show that she was in pos­ses­sion of her hus­band’s cell­phone for four days, from June 5, 2009. She used the cell­phone to cre­ate a false record of com­mu­ni­ca­tion so that it would ap­pear as if he was still alive, while in­ter­mit­tently us­ing it for her own pur­poses.

● Ac­cord­ing to the cell­phone records, the act­ing judge’s phone was used from mid­night on June 4, 2009, un­til 8pm on June 8 to the ex­tent that it trig­gered base sta­tions 171 times in var­i­ous parts of the coun­try, in­clud­ing Joburg and the East­ern Cape. For 84 con­sec­u­tive hours, from the morn­ing of his death un­til af­ter his body was dis­cov­ered, it was in the im­me­di­ate prox­im­ity of his wife.

● She was the au­thor of a fax sent from a Pre­to­ria in­ter­net cafe to Cape Judge Pres­i­dent John Hlophe in November 2009 that cre­ated the im­pres­sion that her hus­band had died while hav­ing sex with a call girl.

While he could not make a find­ing on the cause of death, he added that the ul­ti­mate fac­tual is­sue in the case was whether the non-med­i­cal facts ex­clude death by nat­u­ral causes.

He said the pros­e­cu­tion made out a com­pelling case of motive, say­ing that Maqubela was “plainly in a de­struc­tive mode” when she set out to de­stroy her hus­band’s rep­u­ta­tion and ca­reer in the days be­fore his death.

The con­clu­sion of a de­lib­er­ate killing was for­ti­fied by her lies, he said, adding that her “de­cep­tions and false­hoods do in­deed damn her”.

On the fraud and forgery charges, he found that she fal­si­fied her hus­band’s will and, to the prej­u­dice of her own chil­dren, al­tered the scheme of dis­tri­bu­tion in her favour.

Her co- ac­cused, Vela Mabena, was ac­quit­ted af­ter the court found that the State did not prove be­yond rea­son­able doubt that he was in­volved in the killing.


‘DE­STRUC­TIVE MODE’: The pros­e­cu­tion had made a com­pelling case of motive against mur­derer Thandi Maqubela, Judge John Mur­phy found.

MUR­DERED: Act­ing Judge Pa­trick Maqubela.

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