The Supreme Court of Appeal on Friday cleared Thandi Maqubela on the murder of her repelled husband‚ acting judge Patrick Maqubela – discovering he most likely kicked the bucket of natural causes.
Maqubela was condemned to 15 years’ detainment for kill in 2015.
The court put aside Maqubela’s conviction and sentence on kill. She will‚ however‚ serve sentences for the tallies of imitation and fraud‚ the SCA ruled..
“It was held that when the medical evidence of Prof Saayman‚ a specialist pathologist‚ as to the cause of death of the deceased was properly assessed in accordance with the appropriate judicial measure of proof‚ being the assessment of probability‚ and not in accordance with the scientific measure of proof being the ascertainment of scientific certainty‚ the correct conclusion was that the deceased probably died of natural causes‚” the SCA said in a statement.
“This conclusion was based upon objective medical facts‚ sound logical reasoning and accorded with the probabilities as revealed by the medical evidence.
“The trial court had accordingly erred in concluding that the medical evidence as to the cause of death of the deceased was inconclusive. In the light of the conclusion that the deceased probably died of natural causes‚ even if the mendacity and guilty consciousness of the appellant were taken into account‚ an unlawful killing was not the only reasonable inference that could be drawn.
“A finding of murder was therefore precluded. The trial court‚ however‚ impermissibly relied upon the evidence of guilty conduct on the part of the appellant‚ without more‚ to prove the guilt of the appellant. In the result‚ the appeal against the conviction of murder succeeded.”
The then 60-year-old widow was also convicted of forging his signature on a will that declared her the sole beneficiary of his estate‚ in addition to the murder count. Handing down sentence‚ Judge John Murphy said the crimes she committed were driven by greed and she stood to gain R4.1-million from her husband’s estate had she succeeded.