Judge’s widow back in the dock for murder and fraud

The widow of slain Western Cape High Court judge Patrick Maqubela returns to court on Monday.

Thandi Sheryl Maqubela’s murder trial was postponed during her last appearance, to allow newly appointed defence counsel Marius Broeksma time to prepare.

The court heard Maqubela’s last counsel, Philip Higgo, had also withdrawn for financial reasons, but had at least fully briefed Broeksma.

A formal application launched by Broeksma, which was opposed by state prosecutors Bonnie Currie-Gamwo and Pedro van Wyk, also led to the postponement.

Maqubela and co-accused Vela Mabena were charged with the murder of her husband, who was found suffocated in his luxury Sea Point, Cape Town apartment in June 2009.

In addition to the murder charge, Maqubela and Mabena face charges of forgery and fraud.

Maqubela allegedly forged her husband’s last will and fraudulently presented it to the office of the Master of the High Court.

The indictment cites Mabena as Maqubela’s co-accused on these charges. However it does not give details of his alleged involvement

Johannesburg Judge John Murphy has been seconded to the Western Cape to preside in the trial, as none of the judges in the Western Cape High Court “want anything to do with the case”, Judge-President John Hlophe said at a previous court appearance. — Sapa

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