Expert: Signature on will looked different

2013-03-28 14:44
Thandi Maqubela (Danielle Karallis, Die Burger)

Thandi Maqubela (Danielle Karallis, Die Burger)

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Cape Town - The signature on acting judge Patrick Maqubela's last will "stuck out like a sore thumb", the Western Cape High Court heard on Thursday.

This was the opinion of the State's Pedro van Wyk, who cross-examined handwriting expert Cecil Greenfield on his finding that the signature was, in all probability, authentic.

Greenfield was called by the defence team of Thandi Maqubela and her co-accused Vela Mabena, who have pleaded not guilty to killing her husband in June 2009.

Maqubela has denied that she forged her husband's signature on his will and presented this document at the Johannesburg office of the Master of the High Court.

Van Wyk asked Greenfield if he agreed that the signature on the will "stuck out like a sore thumb" when compared with the acting judge's other signatures from 2009.

State expert: Signature likely a forgery

Greenfield agreed to an extent.

"The signature is, at face value, more similar to previous signatures," he said.

The expert said it was therefore extremely important to have as many examples of previous signatures for comparison as possible.

He said this was where the State's handwriting analyst and witness, Colonel Marco van der Hammen, had erred as he had only looked at 20 signature specimens, whereas he had looked at around 80.

Van der Hammen's opinion was that the signature on the will was very likely a forgery, based on four key differences he found.

Greenfield concluded that the acting judge had been at liberty to choose any signature that he wanted to at that point.

Prosecutor withdrawing from case

Van Wyk asked how certain he was on his finding, based on a percentage.

"I'm quite happy on the balance of probability, which is 51% compared to 49%. I'd say it's closer to 90% or even 99%," Greenfield said.

The expert was allowed to leave the stand.

Van Wyk told the court he was formally withdrawing from the case as it was his last day in that position.
Judge John Murphy thanked him for his assistance.

Van Wyk's colleague, Bonnie Currie-Gamwo, would lead the prosecution forward.

The trial resumes on Tuesday.
Read more on:    thandi maqubela  |  patrick maqubela  |  cape town

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