Diego Novella to approach SCA to appeal against murder sentence

2018-11-10 11:46
Diego Novella (Jenna Etheridge, News24)

Diego Novella (Jenna Etheridge, News24)

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Convicted murderer Diego Novella's attorney, William Booth, told News24 on Saturday that they planned to approach the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) for leave to appeal against his conviction and sentencing. 

This follows an application for leave to appeal the judgment and sentencing of Novella being denied by the Western Cape High Court on Friday. Novella reportedly claimed that his rights to a fair trial had been compromised. In his judgment, Judge Vincent Saldanha said that the court had gone to great lengths to accommodate Novella.

"We are very disappointed and will be petitioning the SCA for leave [to appeal] against the conviction and severity of the sentence," Booth said.

Booth said the application would be based on the fact "that it was incorrect to find [Novella] had criminal capacity to commit the offence" and that "the sentence was too severe and that [Novella's] personal circumstances and all other relevant factors were not properly considered". 

This included that Novella had already served three years in prison, and that there was bias shown towards Novella and the defence by the judge, according to Booth.

Novella was sentenced to 20 years in jail for killing his US girlfriend, Gabriela Kabrins Alban, at a Camps Bay hotel in July 2015, News24 reported.

Saldanha handed down the sentence on September 6.

"The deliberate desecration of the body of the deceased by the accused and his wanton humiliation of her abounds as a serious aggravating factor," he said.

Novella had convinced the successful marketing executive to travel to South Africa for treatment, after she lost her energy to Lyme Disease.

The scene of her murder was gruesome, and the horrific details emerged in court previously.

READ: 'I defecated on the entity' – murder accused Diego Novella

Novella had pleaded not guilty to her murder, saying a concoction of natural substances he had taken while on a "soul journey" and detoxification process in South Africa had caused him to behave in an abnormal manner.

In February, the court reeled in shock when Novella testified to defecating on Kabrins Alban after strangling her, News24 reported.

The Guatemalan said that he was defending himself against an attack by a "demonic entity", who was, in fact, Kabrins Alban.

"When I was on top of the entity, I strangled it because it attacked me," he told the court.

Novella had previously testified that Kabrins Alban had scratched and bitten him on the chest and arm.

"I hit it on the face because I was fighting against an entity."

He explained that after he hit the "entity" it stopped moving and he assumed it was dead.

But Saldanha found him guilty of murder in June, saying his version was "wholly contrived".

"In my view, he knew exactly what he was doing at the time and it was a clear indication on his part of the intent to murder the deceased," he said at the time.

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Read more on:    diego novella  |  cape town  |  crime  |  courts

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