Web of lies saw widow con­victed

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

EVEN though the man­ner in which Act­ing Judge Pa­trick Maqubela died, and the weapon used to kill him re­mains a mys­tery, the web of lies and de­ceit his widow had spun around her­self was enough to en­mesh her this week, and ul­ti­mately see her con­victed.

De­scrib­ing her as “vin­dic­tive”, Judge John Mur­phy said Thandi Maqubela told no fewer than 30 to 40 lies on ma­te­rial is­sues, in and out of court.

He di­vided her lies into six broad cat­e­gories: lies re­gard­ing her pos­ses­sion and use of her hus­band’s cell­phone; lies about her be­hav­iour and move­ments; lies about her hus­band’s where­abouts, con­di­tion and con­duct; lies told about the na­ture of her re­la­tion­ship with him; lies aimed at ex­on­er­at­ing her ex­po­sure of his mis­con­duct; and lies about her re­la­tion­ship with her co-ac­cused, and the ex­tent of their contact.

Bor­row­ing from UK and Aus­tralian prece­dents and author­ity, Judge Mur­phy said courts must al­ways ap­proach the pro­ba­tive value of an ac­cused’s lies con­scious of the fact that there may be rea­sons for the telling of a lie, apart from guilt.

“The weight at­tached to lies and dis­hon­est tes­ti­mony de­pends on the cir­cum­stances of each case. And one should recog­nise that peo­ple lie for rea­sons other than a con­scious­ness of guilt,” he said.

But he had no kind words for Maqubela in his anal­y­sis of her lies, say­ing that these were aimed at avoid­ing an in­fer­ence that she knew of her hus­band’s death, and was in some way im­pli­cated.

“She did not lie out of panic, con­fu­sion, poor rec­ol­lec­tion or to es­cape an un­just ac­cu­sa­tion, to pro­tect some other per­son or to avoid a con­se­quence ex­tra­ne­ous to the of­fence. She de­lib­er­ately and re­peat­edly fab­ri­cated and de­vel­oped a strat­egy aimed con­sciously at self- ex­cul­pa­tion,” he said.

Maqubela’s lies about her move­ments af­ter her hus­band’s death sug­gested that she knew by mid­day on June 5 that he was in­ca­pac­i­tated or dead and that she was in the flat with the body while creat­ing the im­pres­sion that he was still alive.

“These were lies an in­no­cent per­son would not tell, and thus con­sti­tute an ad­mis­sion against in­ter­est aris­ing from the re­al­i­sa­tion of guilt.”

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