Cape Town -

The murder trial of the widow of acting judge Patrick Maqubela was postponed to next year by the Western Cape High Court on Monday.

Marius Broeksma, for Thandi Sheryl Maqubela, was meant to have cross-examined State pathologist Dr Sipho Mfolozi.

However, Broeksma told the court he could not begin without consulting private pathologist Prof G Saaiman, who is the dean of pathology at Pretoria University.

He said Saaiman had been caught up in the pressures of examinations at the university and would not be available until February 4.

Broeksma said the professor was also needed in court during cross-examination.

Mfolozi was seated in the witness stand, ready for cross-examination when the case resumed before Johannesburg-based Judge John Murphy on Monday.

Murphy apologised to Mfolozi for the inconvenience, and said:

“Unfortunately, this is how the cookie crumbles.”

Maqubela is on trial for allegedly murdering her husband. With her in the dock is her business associate Vela Mabena.

Both have pleaded not guilty to a charge of premeditated murder.

Maqubela is also charged with fraud and forgery.

Prosecutors Bonnie Currie-Gamwo and Pedro van Wyk allege that she forged her husband's will, and fraudulently lodged the forged will at the office of the Master of the High Court in Johannesburg.

The Master of the High Court is a division of the justice department, and deals with deceased estates.

Maqubela has pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

The trial resumes on February 4. - Sapa