Maqubela considering bail application
Sentencing will only start on November 20
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.