State challenges Maqubela mitigating factors

2015-03-24 20:36
Thandi Maqubela (File: Sapa)

Thandi Maqubela (File: Sapa)

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Cape Town - The arguments in mitigation of sentencing that a social worker presented for convicted killer Thandi Maqubela were challenged in the Western Cape High Court on Tuesday.

Prosecutor Bonnie Currie-Gamwo drove defence witness Arina Smit to concede in cross-examination that some of her arguments were flawed or unsubstantiated.

Smit had compiled a 50-page report recommending that Maqubela receive a suspended sentence or periodic imprisonment for killing her acting judge husband Patrick in 2009. The defence did not ask her to recommend sentences for the fraud and forgery convictions.

Smit had argued that Maqubela's age, 60, meant she had limited time to be of benefit to society and that being imprisoned would make her a financial burden to the State.

Currie-Gamwo said Maqubela had not worked in years and would probably find it harder to start a business because she had lost her contacts and standing. The social worker conceded that was a possibility.

Her assessment that Maqubela was not a danger to society was also challenged.

"I am putting it to you that given all the concessions you have made, you cannot unequivocally say she is a low-risk offender," said Currie-Gamwo.

Smit replied she would change her assessment to medium risk within a context where Maqubela, with a preoccupied attachment style, was involved in an intimate relationship with someone who would trigger the same protest behaviour.

"I still do not, with regards to the risk factors, believe she would be a danger generally and that she would go out and just murder anyone," Smit said.

Currie-Gamwo said Smit could not change her risk level at a whim because she had not done the proper interrogation into Maqubela's personality over a period of time.

The social worker said in her report that Maqubela had already endured punishment by undergoing a trial, being exposed in the media, and being labelled, a finding which the State again questioned.

"Her fall from grace, her humiliation, being labelled the black widow; that is a punishment which this court must see appropriate for a murder which robbed this division of an acting judge, of a murder which robbed two minor children of a father?" the prosecutor asked.

Smit said the shame and humiliation affected a person's core, especially someone of such a high social standing.

"For this accused, and what I have evaluated... I do not believe that prison fully would be necessarily the only punishment that would help rehabilitate her or pay back to society her dues," Smit said.

In November 2013, the same court found Maqubela guilty of killing her husband in June 2009, despite not having conclusive medical evidence pinpointing a cause of death.

She was found guilty of forging her husband's will and committing fraud by causing potential prejudice to his estate.

Read more on:    thandi maqubela  |  cape town  |  crime

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