Post mortem postpones Maqubela trial

Johannesburg - The Maqubela trial was postponed unexpectedly for a week on Monday after the defence handed in a copy of a post mortem report from an independent pathologist.

Thandi Maqubela is accused, before Judge John Murphy and assessor Danie Marais, of the murder of her husband Patrick on June 5, 2009, in his luxury Bantry Bay apartment. At the time of his death he was an acting judge in the Western Cape High Court.

His widow and her co-accused, Vela Mabena, allegedly suffocated the judge with a piece of plastic cling wrap placed over his face. They deny doing so and claim he died from natural causes.

Maqubela also pleaded not guilty to charges of fraud and forgery, for allegedly forging her husband's signature on a false will. Prosecutor Bonnie Currie-Gamwo alleges Maqubela fraudulently presented the will to the Johannesburg office of the Master of the High Court.

Defence pathologist Dr Patricia Klepp noted on the report she had been unable to determine the cause of death, due to the advanced stage of decomposition.

Defence lawyer Marius Broeksma said he needed time to consult his client. The matter was postponed to April 29.

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