Maqubela guard queried
Johannesburg - A security guard was cross-examined on Wednesday on how he discovered the body of acting Judge Patrick Maqubela.
Mark Benjamin earlier told the Western Cape High Court he found the judge’s body, covered in a white sheet, in the main bedroom of the judge’s luxury apartment - The President Suites in Bantry Bay, Cape Town.
The judge's widow, Thandi, is on trial for his alleged murder, together with co-accused Vela Mabena, a health product agent.
Thandi's lawyer Marius Broeksma was supposed to have started the cross-examination, but Mabena's defence attorney, Randall Titus, went first instead. This was after the judge's permission had been obtained.
Prosecutor Bonnie Currie-Gamwo told the court she had no objection to the swap, but added: "I do wonder why."
In his cross-examination, Titus asked why Benjamin "pretended not to know Mabena's name" on Tuesday.
Benjamin denied he had pretended.
Titus persisted: "You said yesterday [Tuesday] that you could not remember my client's name - why pretend, if you in fact knew his name?"
Benjamin replied: "I know his name, I did not pretend anything."
When Benjamin appeared nervous, Titus urged him to relax, with the words: "You are not on trial here - your mandate is to tell the truth."
Benjamin said he had been on duty with a colleague on the day the body was found. He explained that of the two of them, one had to be in the security office, while another patrolled the premises.
He said: "While my colleague was in the office, I was the loose man, patrolling the premises."
The judge caused laughter when he urged Benjamin to be careful how he described himself - a reference to the use of the word "loose".