“It is declared then that the accused is competent to understand proceedings and to conduct her defence further,” Judge John Murphy said. Prosecutor Bonnie Currie-Gamwo said that a panel of four mental health experts concluded unanimously that she was fit to “stand trial” following a 60-day observation. She handed up two copies of their report.
Maqubela entered the dock in a black suit, black and white headwrap, and sunglasses. She shied away from the flashing cameras of the media. Advocate Thomas Tyler appeared on Maqubela’s behalf for the first time.
“I must make it very clear at the outset that I hold no instructions that the accused did indeed commit the offences of which she has been convicted,” Tyler said.
“She persists in her denial.”
Maqubela was admitted for observation at Valkenberg Psychiatric Hospital after acting out of character at an appearance in September. At the time, she was dishevelled, confused, and asked to be taken to her husband.
In November 2013, the same court found Maqubela guilty of killing her acting judge husband Patrick Maqubela in June 2009, despite not having conclusive medical evidence pinpointing a cause of death. She was found guilty of forging her husband’s will and committing fraud by causing potential prejudice to his estate.
The judge was based at the Western Cape High Court at the time of his death.
READ MORE: Thandi Maqubela to be sentenced