Retired judge takes no prisoners

2011-11-23 22:23

  • Cape Town
    The story told in these pages is both immensely readable and endlessly interesting, and is sure to... Now R399.00
    buy now

Cape Town - Wednesday's proceedings in the Maqubela murder trial brought lively exchanges when retired Western Cape judge Denis van Reenen was called to testify.

The judge was the first to arrive, and as he sat quietly in the courtroom waiting for the proceedings to start, he read his cellphone messages.

He then joined in a friendly conversation between a journalist and a member of the defence team, attorney Randall Titus, about the controversial protection of state information bill.

As they chatted about politics and politicians, the judge noticed, too late, that a newspaper photographer had stealthily taken a photograph of him from behind.

A heated confrontation followed, in which the judge asked the photographer what right he had to take photographs of him without his permission.

The somewhat shaken photographer tried to back off, but the angered judge said he had a constitutional right to privacy.

He warned there would be consequences if his photograph appeared in any newspaper without his consent.

When the judge left the courtroom after the completion of his testimony, photographers out in the street were waiting for him and another heated confrontation followed.

In the witness stand itself, Van Reenen had lively exchanges with Thandi Maqubela's defence counsel Marius Broeksma.

Maqubela and co-accused Vela Mabena are on trial before Judge John Murphy for the alleged murder of Maqubela's husband Patrick, who at the time of his death in June 2009 was an acting judge in the Western Cape High Court.

After clashing with Broeksma about his suggestion that Van Reenen could be mistaken about a telephone call he had received from the widow, Broeksma questioned Van Reenen about his testimony that the deceased had had a reputation for diligence.

Broeksma said: "I'm going to question you about the deceased's work ethic."

To which Van Reenen blurted: "As judges, we don't stand looking over each other's shoulders."

Broeksma then asked Van Reenen to read aloud SMS messages from a bundle of messages.

Van Reenen responded: "Why must I read this?"

Broeksma said he would suggest that, from time to time, Maqubela had not turned up for work.

Broeksma said: "There is also evidence that on the Friday of his death, the deceased's secretary called him via the intercom in his apartment, between 10:00 and 11:00, and that the deceased was able to answer.

Van Reenen replied: "For the deceased to have been at home at that time, would be incompatible with the man I knew."

The trial continues on Thursday.


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

Boys, 6, die in hit-and-run

2014-04-19 22:37

Read News24’s Comments Policy 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
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24


'Zuma's legacy will be judged by Nkandla'

The legacy of President Jacob Zuma is contingent on how he deals with the issue of upgrades to his Nkandla homestead, says Cape Town Archbishop Thabo Makgoba.


Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
  • Thursday Sir Lowry's Pass - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Old Sir Lowrys Pass Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bezweni Road
  • Thursday Cape Town - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Buitengracht Street
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Waterkant Street
More traffic reports...

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now! - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

BlackBerry Bold 9780

BlackBerry 6 Engage your world with BlackBerry 6 OS on the...

From R3049.00

I'm shopping for:


You may be good at organising events but they do take their toll on your energy levels. You may need some time out today just 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 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.