Warrant issued for slain judge’s widow

2011-07-25 15:36

The Western Cape High Court has authorised a warrant for the arrest of Thandi Maqubela, widow of slain acting judge Patrick Maqubela.

Having been released on R100 000 bail, she failed to appear at a pre-trial conference, which had been scheduled to resolve her legal representation, after she terminated the mandate of Legal Aid counsel, Morne Calitz, in April.

Her high court trial, on charges that included murder, was initially scheduled to begin in April.

It was postponed to October 10 to give her new legal team, privately-funded advocate Philip Higgo and attorney Howard Rubenstein, time to prepare and sort out funding.

In April a further pre-trial conference, to determine who her lawyers would be, was scheduled for July 25.

Today, Maqubela was nowhere to be found. Higgo said he and Rubenstein had been in regular contact with her until July 12, after which they had been unable to reach her other than by e-mail.

He said the team had not yet been paid, and this together with her absence, with no idea as to her whereabouts, compelled him and Rubenstein to withdraw from the case.He handed the court two certificates indicating she had recently been to Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic hospital to receive treatment for dizziness, headaches and nausea. According to the certificates she had however, not been admitted to the facility, Higgo said.

Judge John Murphy, of the South Gauteng High Court, has been specially seconded to the Cape High Court to preside in the Maqubela case.Prosecutors Bonnie Currie-Gamwo and Pedro van Wyk told the court Maqubela no longer lived at her Sandton, Johannesburg residence, and that she had changed abode without notifying the investigating officer.This placed her in breach of her bail conditions, Currie-Gamwo said.

She added: “The State does not know where she now resides, and we request a warrant for her arrest, to be executed forthwith.”

The judge authorised the immediate issue and execution of the arrest warrant, and declared Maqubela’s bail provisionally estreated.

He scheduled a further pre-trial conference for August 8, and ordered the Legal Aid authorities to report to him urgently on the possibility of providing Maqubela with legal representation at State expense.

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