Court hears of judge's unstable widow

2013-04-16 20:13
Thandi Maqubela (Picture: Die Burger)

Thandi Maqubela (Picture: Die Burger)

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Cape Town - The trauma of acting judge Patrick Maqubela's death left his widow Thandi Maqubela unstable, the Western Cape High Court heard on Tuesday.

Maqubela is on trial with her business associate, Vela Mabena, for the alleged murder of her husband in his luxury Bantry Bay apartment in June, 2009.

She claims her husband died of natural causes, but the State alleges he was suffocated with cling wrap placed over his face.

At Tuesday’s proceedings, before Judge John Murphy and assessor Danie Marais, it was heard that Maqubela made a sworn statement to a police captain at the apartment the day after the judge’s body was found.

"I did not make the statement myself. I was asked questions and my answers were written down by the captain, after I had heard the bad news about my husband’s death," she testified.

"My state of mind was not healthy, so I answered questions, and my answers were not necessarily correct.

"I was in emotional pain, and there were visitors, including the media, in the apartment at the time, and I was in a state of confusion."

Prosecutor Bonnie Currie-Gamwo asked if Maqubela had informed her advocate that she was in a state of confusion and that the media was present.

"I did. Not only were the media present, but photographers also, and they were there for a long time," Maqubela replied.

The judge asked her if the media were actually in the apartment with her while she was being questioned.

"Yes, in the apartment," she replied.

Currie-Gamwo reminded her of the captain’s testimony that he had been alone with Maqubela during the questioning, and that everything was quiet.

"Yes, but there were other people on the side of the room," Maqubela said.

She said she could not remember if she told the captain that she had gone to the airport on the day of her husband’s death.

"You could have, because this information is in the statement," Currie-Gamwo said.

Maqubela was questioned about the contents of the statement, but she said she "unfortunately" could not answer questions about it.

This prompted the judge to say she had to answer questions.

"You may say that you cannot remember saying this or that, but you cannot refuse to answer the questions," the judge said.

Maqubela told the court she was "screaming and crying" when she made the statement.

Currie-Gamwo responded: "Yet, despite your trauma and screaming, you did remarkably well with the statement. What you told the captain he wrote down."

Maqubela replied: "But some of the things he wrote were wrong, maybe because he was more Afrikaans-speaking than English. Some of the things are correct, some not."

The trial continues.

Read more on:    thandi maqubela  |  vela mabena  |  patrick maqubela  |  cape town

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