Was the evidence enough? - Packham's defence asks as judgment reserved in appeal bid

2019-06-26 13:04
Convicted killer Robert 'Rob' Packham. (Picture: Gallo/Netwerk24)

Convicted killer Robert 'Rob' Packham. (Picture: Gallo/Netwerk24)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Convicted wife killer Rob Packham's defence team has argued that there is a reasonable prospect that another court might find that he is innocent.

Western Cape High Court Judge Elize Steyn, who sentenced the Constantia businessman to an effective 22 years in jail last week, heard his application for leave to appeal his conviction for murder and attempting to defeat the ends of justice on Wednesday.

She listened carefully as his advocate, Craig Webster, argued why she had, respectfully, erred in finding 58-year-old Packham guilty of killing his wife Gill last February.

He said the identification of Packham at various points was "deficient".

Paul Gray, a pensioner and volunteer patroller, said he couldn't get a good look while Keanan Thomas stated in his statement that the person he saw in Diep River was a coloured man in his thirties, Webster said.

Webster argued that:

 - there was no compelling reason to not do a live line-up;

 - the parade was not done at the earliest opportunity;

 - it was done after Packham's arrest, not before;

 - there was prior and significant media coverage; and

 - witnesses had driven together and spoken about the matter.

As for Gray identifying Packham in the dock when testifying, Webster said this carried very little weight.

READ: 6 quotes that stood out during Rob Packham's sentencing

The cross-examination of Warrant Officer Reece Harvey about cellphone mapping showed that evidence about his movements was neutral, he continued.

"It might place him in places where the State would have him and equally, it might place the accused in the places where he was."

Was circumstantial evidence enough?

Steyn said the cellphone data and evidence of Lance Govender showed that Packham was not where he said he was on the evening of his wife's disappearance.

She said Packham pretended he went straight home after having dinner at his sister's, but his phone was off for an hour, which was strange for someone desperately hoping for news about their missing wife.

Webster maintained the cellphone evidence was neutral.

"His actions were just bizarre for somebody who just lost a wife," Steyn maintained.

Webster asked if the identification evidence was not reliable and should be disregarded, and if one put the cellphone evidence in a neutral framework, was the circumstantial evidence enough.

"There might be a finger of suspicion that is pointed, but it wouldn't constitute a case beyond reasonable doubt."

No corroboration for Packham's version

One aspect that puzzled Steyn was where and when Packham's alibi of searching for cars on the morning of his wife's disappearance had emerged.

A defence witness would have testified about this if they knew about it, she said.

Prosecutor Susan Galloway said the investigating officer had testified about it, but couldn't remember who told him.

"It wasn't given to him as an alibi... His (Packham's) initial defence was that 'I was at work'. When that didn't hold water, he changed it to 'I was looking for a new vehicle for my wife'."

Galloway maintained that there was no corroboration for his version of where he was at that time.

"The only reasonable inference is that the accused is guilty of these crimes."

Steyn thanked both parties for their submissions.

"I don't want to rush off a judgment," she said.

She would prepare a judgment to hopefully be handed down next week.

Read more on:    rob packham  |  cape town  |  courts  |  crime
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

 
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.