Will signature could be genuine - expert

2013-03-27 18:37
Thandi Maqubela (Picture: Sapa)

Thandi Maqubela (Picture: Sapa)

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Cape Town - The signature on acting judge Patrick Maqubela's will is in all possibility not a forgery, the Western Cape High Court heard on Wednesday.

"There is variation on the pressure, but it has all the attributes of the genuine. There are no stops or pen lifts in the line of the body of the signature," handwriting analyst Cecil Greenfield testified.

"The signature is written fluently and under a microscope one can see clearly the clearness of the line."

Greenfield was called as a defence witness in the trial of Maqubela's wife, Thandi, and co-accused Vela Mabena.

The pair have pleaded not guilty to murdering Maqubela by suffocating him with cling-wrap in his Sea Point apartment on 5 June 2009.

Thandi Maqubela has also pleaded not guilty to additional charges of forgery and fraud.

Prosecutors Bonnie Currie-Gamwo and Pedro van Wyk allege that she forged her husband's signature on his will, and then fraudulently presented the forged will at the Johannesburg office of the Master of the High Court.

The court heard that the High Court declared the will invalid on an unopposed basis and thus rejected it.

Greenfield said he first had sight of the will in December 2011.

He said there were no latent impressions on the paper to suggest the signature had been traced or manipulated by a graphics programme.

He disputed the four differences raised by the State's handwriting expert, who had declared that the signature on the will was in all possibility a forgery.

"They are not differences then but variations."

He said these variations were missed by the State's expert as he had looked at only a limited number of signature specimens.

The expert said signatures could never be identical because of the different situations and moods people found themselves in, which would affect certain characteristics.

He collected over 65 of the judge's signatures to use as a comparison against the signature on the will.

He looked at the overall consistency in the specimen signatures, and other characteristics such as quality, tremor, the slope, hesitation and inappropriate pen lifts.

Spontaneity and speed were the best indicators as they were not easy to imitate.

A signature could be forged in three ways; either by tracing; practising the signature until similar by freehand; or the cut and paste method, manually or electronically.

The State will cross-examine Greenfield on Thursday.

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

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