Signature on Maqubela's will analysed

2013-03-27 17:13
Thandi Maqubela (Nardus Engelbrecht, Sapa)

Thandi Maqubela (Nardus Engelbrecht, Sapa)

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Cape Town - If two signatures are identical, one of them is extremely likely to be a forgery, a handwriting analyst told the Western Cape High Court on Wednesday.

"We decide to create a signature for ourselves... and it's unique, it's a contrived piece of writing and we use it for identification purposes," expert Cecil Greenfield said, in the trial of Thandi Maqubela and Vela Mabena.

"The paradox is that if two signatures are identical in every way, it must be a forgery because it's impossible to repeat your [exact] signature twice."

Maqubela and Mabena stand accused of killing her husband, acting judge Patrick Maqubela, by suffocating him with cling-wrap in his Sea Point, Cape Town, flat on 5 June 2009.

They have pleaded not guilty to a charge of murder.

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

Prosecutors Bonnie Currie-Gamwo and Pedro van Wyk allege 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.

Greenfield, who was called as a defence witness, said he collected over 65 signatures from the late judge 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.

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

"[I have to ask] where does variation stop and where does difference begin? Where does forgery come in and at what point can we say it's fraud?"

Greenfield said 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.

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

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