Maqubela declines to testify

2012-10-10 21:08
Thandi Maqubela (Picture: Sapa)

Thandi Maqubela (Picture: Sapa)

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Cape Town - Thandi Maqubela, charged with the murder of her husband, Western Cape acting judge Patrick Maqubela, chose on Wednesday not to testify in her own defence in the Western Cape High Court.

Defence counsel Marius Broeksma announced Maqubela's decision in the court after prosecutors Bonnie Currie-Gamwo and Pedro van Wyk closed the State's case.

Defence attorney Randall Titus, representing Maqubela's co-accused, businessman Vela Mabena, at the same time said that his client had likewise chosen not to testify.

Both Broeksma and Titus told the court their clients would close their respective cases.

The accused appeared before Johannesburg-based judge John Murphy and assessor Danie Marais, and pleaded not guilty to the alleged murder.

Maqubela was also charged with fraud and theft, relating to her deceased husband's will. She pleaded not guilty to these charges as well.

The trial ended with a trial-within-a-trial, in which the prosecution launched an application to have a sworn statement made by Maqubela to a police captain, concerning her husband's death, admitted as evidence against her.

Broeksma opposed the application on the grounds that investigating officer Captain Etienne van Ede had failed to warn Maqubela of her right to refuse to make the statement and that whatever she said in it could be used as evidence against her.

Currie-Gamwo countered that the warning only had application if the person making the statement was considered a suspect in the case.

At the time the statement was made, Maqubela was not yet under suspicion for her husband's murder, and a warning was not required.

Currie-Gamwo added: "An inquest is an investigation into a death where no foul play is suspected."

Broeksma said Maqubela, at the time she gave the statement, was reasonably thought to be a suspect, by one or more of those involved in the investigation.

For this reason, she should have been pre-warned about her constitutional rights and it meant that her statement could not be received as evidence against her.

Judgment is expected on Thursday, on whether the statement may be considered as evidence.

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