Unexpected twist in judge murder trial
Cape Town - An unexpected turn on Monday caused the postponement to October of the murder trial involving the widow of slain judge Patrick Maqubela.
The trial was to commence on Monday before Judge Michael Murphy in a special courtroom at the Wynberg Regional Court.
However, defence counsel Morne Calitz, representing Thandi Maqubela, requested permission to withdraw from the case.
Calitz, who was appointed by the Legal Aid Authority, said Maqubela had only recently received a contract from the Legal Aid Board, which she was required to sign.
Calitz said Maqubela had declined to sign due to a provision in the contract that required her to reimburse the board if she received funds from the deceased judge's estate.
Maqubela and her co-accused, Vela Mabena, are accused of the murder of her husband, but were not required to plead to any charges at Monday's proceedings.
The judge said he was reluctant at this stage to give Calitz permission to withdraw and he postponed the hearing to October 10.
The slain judge had been an acting judge when he was found dead in his luxury apartment in Bantry Bay in June last year.
Both Maqubela and Mabena are out on bail.