Wife killer Rob Packham's bid for leave to appeal conviction denied

2019-07-05 10:41

Rob Packham's bid for leave to appeal his conviction for killing his wife Gill last year has been dismissed.

Western Cape High Court Judge Elize Steyn said on Friday that there were no reasonable prospects of his proposed appeal succeeding, "neither is there any other compelling reason why the appeal should be heard".

She said the defence's argument lacked the degree of substance and merit required to allow the application.

"The testimony indicates unequivocally that the only reasonable and plausible inference to be drawn from the evidence presented is that the accused was involved with the death of the deceased at all relevant stages of the offences, as charged."

During arguments last week, Packham's advocate, Craig Webster, SC, said there was a reasonable prospect that another court might acquit him.

Packham, 58, was sentenced last month after he was found guilty of murder and attempting to defeat the ends of justice.

Arguing for leave to appeal, Webster highlighted various reasons why he believed the identification of his client was deficient.

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

He also said that the cellphone evidence proved nothing.

In her judgment on Friday, Steyn begged to differ.

Cellphone evidence

She referred to the extended coastal drive that Packham took the morning after his wife's charred remains were found in her burnt-out BMW in Diep River. 

It made no sense to her that he would have taken the drive during rush hour traffic, only to miss his appointment with the investigating officer.

"It did not go unnoticed that he lied to the court about the time he arrived back home after the drive, only to find the anxious police at his home; a lie demonstrated by undisputed cellphone data."

Steyn also referred to the fact that only Packham had testified about turning off his phone on the morning his wife disappeared because he was looking for a surprise vehicle for her.

This was not mentioned in his first affidavit and his daughter, sister and ex-girlfriend testified that he had been driving to places he thought she might be.

"Not one of them testified that he had told them he was looking for a replacement vehicle for his wife, by driving around with his cellphone deactivated in rush hour traffic over a crucial two-hour period."

Packham's phone was also deactivated for an hour in the period when his wife's BMW was found alight.

"Although he said the phone was off for 10 minutes only, his cell data showed the contrary, an aspect that was never explained and which is indicative of another lie to the court," Steyn pointed out.

Steyn also touched on the identification of Packham.

"The acceptance by the court of identification evidence, corroborated in numerous respects, was explained and justified, legally and factually in the judgment."

The defence will take instructions on whether to approach the Supreme Court of Appeal.

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