Cape Town - The Western Cape High Court has refused to grant bail to Thandi Maqubela, pending her sentence for the murder of her husband acting judge Patrick Maqubela.
“I declined the request, as I considered it not in the interests of justice,” Judge John Murphy said on Monday. The case was postponed until February 17.
Maqubela is awaiting sentence for premeditated murder, fraud, and forgery.
Her husband Patrick Maqubela was found dead on his bed in his apartment in Sea Point on June 5, 2009.
She was convicted of the murder and of forging his signature on a document purporting to be his will and fraudulently presented the false will to the office of the Master of the High Court, a division of the justice department dealing with deceased estates.
Murphy said Thandi Maqubela was out on bail for longer than two years prior to and during the course of her trial, but that he refused to extend bail after she was convicted.
In a fresh application for bail, she had failed to persuade the court there were substantial and compelling circumstances justifying her release on bail, and that her release on bail was in the interests of justice.
Murphy said the court had to take into account Maqubela's conviction for three serious offences, and the sentence likely to be imposed.
He said the court was bound by a Supreme Court of Appeal ruling that courts hesitate in granting bail after conviction.
He said Maqubela, in her application, relied on an affidavit setting out the grounds on which the application was based, but that she had not testified.
One of the grounds was that she believed she had a reasonable prospect of success if she chose to appeal after being sentenced.
Another ground was the difficulties experienced in adequately consulting her counsel in a prison environment.
Murphy said the court agreed with prosecutor Bonnie Currie-Gamwo that special arrangements could be made with the prison authorities for Maqubela to consult in a more suitable environment, even if this required the court’s assistance.
Murphy said Maqubela had not taken the court into her confidence as to the exact state of her financial resources.
“The court does not have a clear and full picture of this,” he said.
The State’s case against Maqubela had been based on circumstantial evidence, but the evidence had nevertheless been compelling.
“The accused has not satisfied the court that it will be in the interests of justice to release her on bail. For this reason, her application falls to be dismissed.”