Acting judge was unhealthy – defence

Acting judge Patrick Maqubela’s poor health points to a natural death, the Western Cape High Court heard on Tuesday.

“Certainly, if not at the top of the scale, the deceased was obese. He had an enlarged heart,” said Marius Broeksma, for Maqubela’s wife Thandi.

“He was not a 100m [sprint] specialist or cyclist. This is a person who exercised moderately.” Broeksma said a post-mortem examination revealed Maqubela had damage to his kidneys and brain.

“Given the fact the acting judge was stressed in his marriage, his infidelity was under threat of being exposed, and he had a “rather unusual lifestyle”, Broeksma said he was absolutely certain his death could be ruled as natural.

Thandi Maqubela is charged with murder, forgery, and fraud. Her co-accused, her business associate Vela Mabena, is charged with murder. Patrick Maqubela’s body was found in his apartment in Bantry Bay on June 7, 2009. The State alleges he was suffocated with a piece of clingwrap on June 5.

The defence said it was improbable that the clingwrap was the murder weapon. “Clingwrap is used for certain things that are non-food related and would explain why the deceased’s DNA was on there.

“He was obese and it could have been for targeted weight-loss reduction of certain body parts,” Broeksma said, referring to the practice of people wrapping parts of themselves in plastic to raise the body temperature.

It was also improbable that if Thandi Maqubela had returned to the judge’s flat the day he died, as the State suggested, she would have left the clingwrap in a dustbin in clear view.

“You can easily find my client is not an innocent, uninformed individual. She is at a level of society where one could not possibly expect that,” he said.

The State believes Maqubela’s death was unnatural, based on witness testimonies suggesting the crime scene had been interfered with after his death.

Sapa

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