Maqubela must wait to hear if she'll spend Christmas in jail

Thandi Maqubela (File: Die Burger)
Thandi Maqubela (File: Die Burger)

Cape Town – The so-called "Black Widow", Thandi Maqubela, convicted of killing her acting judge husband, will have to wait until Friday to hear whether she will be able to spend Christmas with her family.

On Tuesday, her lawyer Thomas Tyler argued in the Western Cape High Court that she should be given bail pending an appeal of her murder conviction in the Supreme Court of Appeal.

It emerged that she also intended to appeal her concurrent three-year jail terms for fraud and forgery, related to her husband's will.

The State argued her appeals had little prospect of success and that she had not shown her release was in the interest of justice. 

The same court found Maqubela guilty of killing Patrick Maqubela in June 2009, despite not having conclusive medical evidence pinpointing a cause of death. 

He was found dead on his bed in his Sea Point flat on June 5 2009, apparently a day after saying he wanted a divorce.

In March, she was sentenced to an effective 18 years in jail.

Tyler argued on Tuesday that his client's "incredibly simple" lie about her whereabouts around the time of the murder did not mean she had committed the crime.

"There was no shooting, strangling or poisoning," he said while counting the crimes on the fingers of one hand. "To date nobody can think of what caused his death."

He said she was not a flight risk.

Prosecutor Bonnie Currie-Gamwo said the State's case was based on strong circumstantial evidence.

Medical experts could not determine a natural or unnatural cause of death, but agreed that suffocation could not be excluded, she added.

"The applicant was present at the time of death and afterwards. Her behaviour afterwards is indicative of one thing - that the deceased could not have died of a natural cause."

She believed the sentence handed down for the fraud and forgery was "lenient".

Maqubela looked serene with her blood-red head wrap, sunglasses and black suit in the dock. This was despite her lengthy trip from a Worcester prison in rush-hour traffic.

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