Vic­tim’s dad hails bail bid fail­ure

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - FA­TIMA SCHROEDER

A US FA­THER has ex­pressed his grat­i­tude at a West­ern Cape High Court judge’s find­ing that Gu­atemalan Diego Novella, ac­cused of mur­der­ing his daugh­ter, should not be re­leased from Pollsmoor Prison.

Howdy Kabrins said af­ter the rul­ing he would con­tinue to fight for jus­tice for his daugh­ter.

“As a fa­ther I am re­lieved and more mo­ti­vated than ever to pur­sue jus­tice for my daugh­ter Gaby. As a Jewish man, the fact that the judge ruled on Yom Kip­pur makes me feel that God is watch­ing over all of us.”

He added: “As an Amer­i­can with (a) grow­ing (num­ber of) friends in Cape Town, I am so grate­ful for all the sup­port and strength given to me.”

Novella has been in Pollsmoor Prison for more than a year, since his ar­rest for the mur­der of his girl­friend, US mar­ket­ing ex­ec­u­tive Gabriela Kabrins Al­ban.

Staff at the bou­tique Camps Bay Re­treat ho­tel found Kabrins Al­ban’s body in July last year in the room she shared with Novella. Cloth­ing and food were strewn across the floor.

Novella was ar­rested al­most im­me­di­ately and has been in cus­tody ever since af­ter he failed to con­vince the courts his re­lease was in the in­ter­ests of jus­tice.

He has not placed a ver­sion of events be­fore the courts since his ar­rest.

How­ever, a panel of psy­chi­a­trists which eval­u­ated him rec­om­mended the court could con­sider a plea of di­min­ished ca­pac­ity as a re­sult of his pro­longed sub­stance abuse.

It was this same his­tory of abuse that counted against him this week when the High Court dis­missed an ap­peal he lodged against the Cape Town Mag­is­trate’s Court’s find­ing that his re­lease was not in the in­ter­ests of jus­tice.

In the ap­peal, Novella at­tacked the find­ing that he was a flight risk, while at­tor­ney Wil­liam Booth added that there were sev­eral in­di­ca­tions he was will­ing to co-op­er­ate with au­thor­i­ties.

These in­cluded that Novella was will­ing to be sub­jected to elec­tronic tag­ging.

But Judge An­dre le Grange could not find any fault with the mag­is­trate’s court de­ci­sion, say­ing Novella’s crit­i­cisms were with­out merit.

Judge le Grange pointed out that Novella had a life­style of a con­stant trav­eller, had no real roots in Cape Town and had a his­tory of sub­stance abuse.

He had no de­pen­dents, came from a wealthy fam­ily, re­ceived a monthly al­lowance of $10 000 (R143 000) and did not need to work to main­tain his life­style.

Judge Le Grange said the mag­is­trate had taken into ac­count all the as­sur­ances Novella had made that he would not evade his trial.

How­ever, he said the fact that Novella would fi­nance the guar­an­tees, such as the elec­tronic tag­ging, cre­ated a sense of un­ease be­cause it meant it could be open to ma­nip­u­la­tion.

The judge also pointed out that the State’s case strongly pointed to his guilt.

Booth said he would con­sult with his client about whether or not to take the mat­ter fur­ther.


Gabriela Kabrins

Diego Novella

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