Guatemalan murder accused to plead not guilty

2016-05-19 16:13
Diego Dougherty. (Jenna Etheridge, News24)

Diego Dougherty. (Jenna Etheridge, News24)

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Cape Town - Guatemalan murder accused Diego Dougherty intends pleading not guilty to killing an American marketing consultant in Camps Bay, the Cape Town Magistrate's Court heard on Wednesday.

The court was also asked to consider diminished responsibility by way of drug intoxication, as per a psychiatric report, despite him being able to appreciate the wrongfulness of his actions.

This emerged during a formal bail application, in which his lawyer William Booth read out an affidavit on his behalf.

He said his client, 42, would be able to pay R100 000 bail, but the amount was "very flexible" and more could be raised if needed.

The State was opposing bail because it believed Dougherty was a flight risk.

Police seized his Italian and Guatamalan passports upon his arrest. 

He was in the process of applying for a permit because his visa had expired.

Very close relationship

Dougherty faces a charge of murder after his girlfriend, American marketing consultant Gabriela Kabrins Alban, was found dead in their room at the upmarket Camps Bay Retreat Hotel on July 29 last year.

Dougherty said he first got to know Kabrins Albans more than 15 years ago while studying in the United States. They formed a very close relationship.

After her divorce, they met up again and lived together for a while in Guatemala City.

He said they were in a close relationship until her death.

As was the case with Paralympian Oscar Pistorius, Dougherty has been charged with a Schedule Five offence and must show very good reasons why he should be granted bail.

He said in his affidavit that he had no intention of leaving the country and had co-operated with authorities to date.

He would receive the necessary psychiatric support and was willing to be electronically monitored.

Prominent and important family

A security company was on board to help him abide by bail conditions.

The deceased's parents, Doris Weitz and Howdy Kabrins, were both present in court.

Weitz sat in a chair next to the dock, staring down, with crossed arms, at Dougherty and his interpreter.

The court heard that his family owned cement company Cementos Progreso. Dougherty said it was held in very high regard.

He added that his family was "very prominent and important". It contributed extensively to the economy and philanthropic efforts.

It affected him that he could not be by his dad's side when he died last month.

Through the defence and his brother Lucas, he had secured a place in South Africa where he could stay if granted bail.

Fearing that the house would be swarmed by the media, Booth asked the court that the address be kept out of the public eye.

Read more on:    cape town  |  crime

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