Judge's death appeared natural - cop

2012-10-09 21:36
Thandi Maqubela (Picture: Sapa)

Thandi Maqubela (Picture: Sapa)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Cape Town - Western Cape acting judge Patrick Maqubela was initially thought to have died from a heart attack, the Western Cape High Court heard on Tuesday.

Police captain Etienne van Eden told the court an inquest docket was initially opened, as no foul play was suspected.

He was testifying in the trial of Maqubela's widow Thandi Maqubela, and her business partner Vela Mabena, both of whom are charged with his murder. They have pleaded not guilty.

Maqubela also faces charges of fraud and forgery, relating to the judge's will.

Prosecutors Bonnie Curry-Gamwo and Pedro van Wyk allege that the judge was suffocated with a piece of plastic cling-wrap, and that he did not die of a heart attack.

Van Eden told the court that the death was initially thought to have been a natural one, resulting in an inquest investigation.

Had the death been ruled as natural, the docket would have been regarded as finalised, and filed in the police archives.

Van Eden said he had informed Maqubela of her husband's death, and had later taken a sworn statement from her in her husband's apartment.

At the time he took the statement, the widow was regarded as a witness in the inquest investigation, and not as a suspect, he said.

Had she been regarded as a suspect, he would have had to warn her of her right to remain silent, and that whatever she said in the statement could be used as evidence against her in court.

The hearing developed into a trial-within-a trial, in which the court has to determine the admissibility of Maqubela's statement.

If the court rules that Maqubela was considered a suspect at the time she made the statement, it will be ruled inadmissible on the grounds of Van Eden's failure to first warn her of her rights.

Van Eden said a post mortem examination was also held at the mortuary, to confirm the cause of death.

Questioned by defence counsel Marius Broeksma, for Maqubela, Van Eden said: "We sometimes do call out a pathologist if we are not sure whether the death was from natural causes or not."

He said the pathologist was called out in the Maqubela investigation "because this was a high profile inquest".

The pathologist also concluded that the death was from natural causes, and the post mortem examination found no indications of foul play, he said.

The hearing continues on Wednesday.

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

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
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Millions of plastic particles in our food!

Scientists and researchers believe that almost five million tons of plastic is dumped in the oceans every year and it’s affecting our food.



Plastic on your plate
Prince George the green prince?
Lean, green, drifiting machine
One man's $1 million vision for an eco Africa

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts

Trying to keep time for your social commitments and friendships as well as taking care of work and health obligations can be a...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


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.


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.