Maqubela judgment will take days, says judge

Judgment in Thandi Maqubela and her business associate's murder trial and her business associate will take a few days to hand down, says Judge John Murphy.

The judgment was over 220 pages long, he said in the high court in Cape Town. It contained complex issues of facts and law and would take two to three days to read out.

He asked the media to be prudent in this time and avoid reaching preliminary conclusions "because the judgment is so complex and there are so many factual findings to be made".

Murphy denied an application by Maqubela on Monday morning to re-open her case.

Marius Broeksma, for Maqubela, had told the court they wanted the case to be opened "to a very limited extent" on counts two and three, that of fraud and forgery.

He handed up a founding affidavit and said the intention was to call more witnesses.

Maqubela and her co-accused Vela Mabena have pleaded not guilty to suffocating her husband, acting Judge Patrick Maqubela, with cling-wrap in his Sea Point, Cape Town, apartment on June 5 2009.

Signature forgery
She has also pleaded not guilty to forging her husband's signature on his will, and then fraudulently presenting it at the Johannesburg office of the master of the high court.

The forgery charge on the indictment was recently amended from "making of the signature" to "making of the will".

The state previously told the court no will was lodged at the time of Maqubela's death and his financial adviser was adamant there was no will.

It was only on April 23 2010, that the master's office received a letter from his widow stating she had found a will among some documents in boxes and that it was dated March 2009.

Broeksma said on Monday he wanted to call witnesses to prove that the boxes contained the judge's personal effects.

He said the application would not be pursued if the state conceded this fact.

"No such concession will be forthcoming from the state," replied prosecutor Bonnie Currie-Gamwo.

She criticised the defence for bringing an application at such a late stage and questioned when the matter would be finalised when some witnesses were in Johannesburg and the United Kingdom.

"None of them [the witnesses] can tell us what exactly was inside the boxes in any event," she said.

Randall Titus said his client, Mabena, wanted the trial to conclude as soon as possible and asked the court to consider his interests. – Sapa

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