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Maqubela sent for mental observation

2014-09-04 17:52

Cape Town - A district surgeon has recommended that convicted killer Thandi Maqubela be sent for mental observation, the Western Cape High Court heard on Thursday.

Dr Marianne Tiemensma evaluated Maqubela at the Victoria Hospital in Wynberg, Cape Town, on Wednesday.

Tiemensma was asked to evaluate Maqubela's mental state for the purposes of finalising her sentencing. Her mental state during the criminal act and subsequent trial were not under evaluation.

The State handed up Tiemensma's report, which revealed that Maqubela initially refused to answer any questions and avoided all eye contact.

"It was very difficult to conduct the interview and to form a definite opinion on her mental state and I am not fully convinced at this stage that she is psychotic," the doctor noted.

"I got the impression that she is somewhat stubborn and purposefully answers in an inappropriate manner. However, I recommend she be referred for observation at a psychiatric institution."

Judge John Murphy had sent her to hospital on Wednesday morning after noticing she did not appear "to be well" during pre-sentencing proceedings.

After persistent questioning, Maqubela repeatedly asked whether Tiemensma might help her to get to her husband's office.

Patrick Maqubela had been an acting judge at the same high court.

The same court found Maqubela guilty in November of killing him in June 2009, despite not having conclusive medical evidence pinpointing a cause of death.

She was found guilty of forging her husband's will and committing fraud by causing potential prejudice to his estate.

She was to have appeared in court again on 29 September, likely conducting her own defence in mitigation of sentence after failing to elect a legal aid lawyer.

Murphy asked Maqubela whether she understood what had been read out in court.

Maqubela, dressed smartly in a black skirt suit and blue turban, was unresponsive and stared at the floor.

He informed her that her case would be postponed until 6 November to allow for observation, which would take place as soon as a bed became available at Valkenberg Hospital.

She would remain in custody at Pollsmoor Prison in the meantime.

SAPA

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