Cape Town -
Thandi Maqubela and Vela Mabena, who are accused of murdering Acting Judge Patrick Maqubela, say there is insufficient evidence to convict them and will apply to the Western Cape High Court to dismiss the charges.
On Monday, the high court heard they are set to bring a 174 application. In terms of Section 174 of the Criminal Procedures Act, every accused is entitled to show that there is insufficient evidence to convict them.
If the 174 does not succeed then the defence will open its case.
Prosecutor Bonnie Currie-Gumwo also asked for time to go through some of the transcripts before the State reveals whether or not it is closing its case.
Thandi Maqubela, a qualified nurse-turned-businesswoman, and her co-accused, health products agent Mabena, each face a single murder charge.
The acting judge’s widow has also been charged with fraud and forgery for allegedly manipulating her husband’s will, making her the main beneficiary of his multimillion-rand estate.
The State argued that the acting judge was suffocated – with plastic clingwrap – found in a waste-paper basket in the bedroom of his Bantry Bay apartment. His body was discovered on June 7, 2009, two days after the State alleges he was murdered.
The defence claims that he died of natural causes. The cause of death was not determined at the autopsy and experts have not ruled out suffocation.
Police initially concluded that he had died of a heart attack but changed the investigation to murder.
On Monday, the State called investigating officer Reynold Talmakkies to the stand.
Talmakkies said suspicions were raised when the acting judge’s cellphone could not be located and was then later traced back to the flat.
It was found in the pocket of a beige jacket hanging in a cupboard.
He also earlier testified that Thandi Maqubela had been moving in and out of the bedroom while they searched for the phone.