Camps Bay murder probe at an advanced stage

2016-03-04 20:00
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Cape Town – A blood splatter report, a footprint report and access to two cellphones and an iPad are the only items still outstanding in the investigation against murder accused Guatemalan Diego Novella, the State told the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court on Friday.

Novella, 41, allegedly assaulted and killed 39-year-old US marketing executive Gabriela Kabrins Alban at the Camps Bay Retreat Boutique Hotel in July last year.

Prosecutor Louise Friester-Sampson said the items were supplementary evidence.

Novella’s lawyer William Booth however said that was even more reason for him to be granted access to the police docket.

He argued it was unfair to withhold the information he needed to plot a way forward on issues such as bail.

“Unless there is something they are hiding,” he said, looking to the prosecutor with a smile and a raised eyebrow.

Friester-Sampson said sufficient information had been provided to the defence.

Once finalised, the State would draw up an indictment.

Friester-Sampson said the State had access to conversations up until 2014 on one of the cellphones booked in as evidence. It was communicating with an overseas expert to help unlock the other electronic devices.

A panel was given the task of examining Novella’s state of mind at the time of the alleged offence and now. The court heard on Friday that the report would be ready within two weeks.

The panel interviewed Novella’s sister and nephew this week.

Magistrate Grant Engel said he would rule on the access to the docket after Novella’s mental health status report was finalised.

The matter was provisionally postponed until March 23. Novella would remain in custody.

Engel did not believe this would cause prejudice to Novella and the court would set down timelines so the matter was not postponed indefinitely.

Guatemalan ambassador Acisclo Valladares Molina said outside the court that human rights are very important. He was concerned about the time that had already passed and the possibility of the defence not getting sufficient access to evidence.

Read more on:    cape town  |  crime

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