Victim’s dad hails bail bid failure
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.