Possible amendments to Maqubela charges

2013-07-30 15:32
Thandi Maqubela (Picture: Die Burger)

Thandi Maqubela (Picture: Die Burger)

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Cape Town - The murder trial of the wife of acting Judge Patrick Maqubela was delayed again in the Western Cape High Court on Tuesday.

Widow Thandi Maqubela and her co-accused Vela Mabena's defence said a possible amendment to the charges could prejudice their clients.

The two have pleaded not guilty to killing the acting judge. Maqubela has also pleaded not guilty to forging her husband's signature on his will.

Judge John Murphy had indicated that he intended amending the charges on the indictment, in terms of the discretion given to him in the Criminal Procedures Act.

On the murder charge, he wanted to extend the cause of death by adding "or means unknown" to "suffocation with plastic".

Regarding Maqubela's alleged forgery of her husband's will, he wanted to amend the charge from "making of the signature" to "making of the will".

Marius Broeksma, for the defence, said it would probably oppose the amendments because they would prejudice the defence's case, as extra witnesses would have to be called and other evidence would have to be placed before the court.

It would also probably incur a cost and time prejudice because the trial would take longer to conclude.

He said he still had to closely study the amendments and the Criminal Procedures Act, but he believed the move could be against the "current constitutional order".

Murphy said he would first have to consider what prejudice would be suffered before the amendments could be made.

Prejudice

The State and the defence both believed the onus rested on the opposite party to prove or disprove such prejudice.

Murphy postponed the trial until Thursday, at which time both sides would argue where the onus lay.

When that had been decided, the court would hear submissions in terms of prejudice and make a ruling.

The defence would then decide whether witnesses should be called. The State also had the option of re-opening its case.

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

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