Maqubela had 'emotional explosion', court told

2015-03-23 14:38
Thandi Maqubela (File: Sapa)

Thandi Maqubela (File: Sapa)

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Cape Town - Thandi Maqubela had an out-of-character emotional "explosion", which led to the killing of her acting judge husband in 2009, the Western Cape High Court heard on Monday.

Social worker and defence witness Arina Smit said Maqubela had subconsciously been conflicted between her religious values and reality until "like a shaken cooldrink bottle" she exploded.

She was being cross-examined by prosecutor Bonnie Currie-Gamwo after giving evidence in mitigation of Maqubela's sentencing.

"Looking at other factors as well, this is a situation that came over a period of time that the accused was not necessarily aware of consciously, and [she] carried on doing the best she felt in terms of her relationship and family."

Smit told Currie-Gamwo that when considered with Maqubela's religious values and upbringing, the cognitive dissonance was considered a sufficient reason to deviate from the prescribed minimum sentences for murder, fraud, and forgery.

In her 50-page pre-sentencing report, Smit had recommended periodic imprisonment as an appropriate sentence, and to a lesser degree, a suspended sentence.

Currie-Gamwo disagreed with Smit.

"To be quite honest, I don't agree because I can't connect the dots quite as clearly as you can," she told the witness.

Currie-Gamwo believed such emotional inner turmoil would surely make a person more of a danger to society, not less.

In November 2013, the same court found Maqubela guilty of killing her husband Patrick in June 2009, despite not having conclusive medical evidence pinpointing a cause of death.

She was found guilty of forging her husband's will and committing fraud by causing potential prejudice to his estate.

Smit was of the opinion that becoming emotional was not a criminal risk factor proven by research.

"I see it in context as a situation that happened. It was a once-off situation," Smit said.

After interviewing her family she got the impression that Maqubela was stable in her interactions with others and emotionally contained.

She recommended deviation from the prescribed minimum sentence because of Maqubela's attachment pattern in relationships, and that she had endured "emotional and psychological" abuse from her husband's infidelity.

Smit told the court the accused's preoccupied attachment pattern was not a danger because she had not found evidence that Maqubela had an impulse control disorder.

However, she conceded she was not a clinical psychologist and therefore not qualified to diagnose such a disorder.

Read more on:    thandi maqubela  |  cape town  |  crime

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