Plot thickens in judge’s murder trial

2011-11-12 19:25

Gaping holes in testimony, insinuation of police incompetence and lax security at an upmarket seaside complex.

These are some of the cracks that appeared in the murder trial of Acting High Court Judge Patrick Maqubela in the Western Cape High Court this week.

Maqubela’s wife Thandi is charged with his death, along with Vela Mabena. They are accused of killing him in June 2009.

Following startling revelations of Maqubela’s alleged infidelity and up to R20 million debt for houses and cars, defence lawyers poked several holes in the evidence of state witnesses Rashied Judaar, a handyman at the complex and security guard Mark Benjamin this week.

It was Benjamin who, with two of the Maqubela’s friends, discovered his body in his apartment at The President’s Suites in Bantry Bay on June 7, 2009.

Early this week Judaar and Benjamin placed Thandi and Mabena at the complex on the day the judge was allegedly killed.

Advocate Randall Titus, who is defending Mabena, accused Benjamin of providing an oral version of events to the court that differed from his statement to the police.

Titus drew Judge John Murphy’s attention to Benjamin’s police statement, that between 10.15am and 11am on June 5 an “unknown African male” arrived at the complex in a white 1980 model Toyota Corolla to visit Maqubela.

In court Benjamin identified this man as Mabena and said he had let him into the complex at about 10am after Maqubela had given permission over the intercom.

Benjamin said Mabena drove out of the complex’s main exit about 30 minutes later.

He said 20 minutes after Mabena left, he saw Thandi driving out of the complex in a black Audi,. She returned later that morning.

He said Thandi was not often at the apartment and Maqubela was “always alone”, but Benjamin’s testimony started coming apart in cross-examination.

Titus asked him how he recalled Mabena’s name as he could not remember the name in his statements, to which Benjamin replied the police had told him who it was.

When Benjamin was asked to point out the car Mabena had driven on June 5, he pointed out a cream BMW at the Sea Point police station.

Benjamin said he “made a mistake” thinking Mabena had arrived in a Toyota, and then admitted that police had told him the BMW was Mabena’s car.

Titus told Benjamin, who was visibly nervous, that he was “wrapping himself up in a web of lies”, reminding him that this was a “high-profile” case and that there was therefore “pressure on police to solve it” – insinuating that police were instructing him what to say.

“The version you want the court to believe is the version advocated by the police. What they are trying to do is fit a square peg in a round hole,” said Titus. There was also a suggestion that Benjamin’s third statement was “pre-prepared” by the police.

Murphy was also told that Mabena was identified by Benjamin in a “one-man identity parade” which Titus referred to as a “one-man identity charade”.

The trial continues tomorrow.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.