Alleged child-killer denied bail‚ but co-accused mom to be released
The man‚ who allegedly murdered a three-year-old boy by putting him in a scalding hot bath‚ will remain behind bars‚ while the child’s co-accused mother has been granted bail.
Magistrate Peter du Plessis handed down judgement in the couple’s bail application at the Johannesburg Regional Court on Monday.
The toddler was in the care of the man when he was allegedly dunked in the hot water before the his mother returned home from work that evening in July last year.
The couple‚ who may not be named by order of the court‚ both face counts of murder and child abuse.
The woman‚ who was wearing a rosary around her neck and clasped her hands together in prayer ahead of Monday’s proceedings‚ broke down in tears upon hearing she would be released.
“A court needs to be careful that it is not swayed by the wrong things. This is a three-year-old child who must have endured great agony… but the emotion that was evoked [by his death] is not the basis on which the court makes these findings‚” Du Plessis said in his judgment.
“There is no direct evidence that [the boy’s mother] inflicted any injury.”
According to the woman her son told her he was fine before going to bed that night and was well enough to walk to the bathroom.
Pathologist Dr Hestelle Nel rejected the woman’s evidence‚ however‚ saying the boy would not likely have been walking on his burnt feet‚ but was more likely to have been screaming with pain.
Though Du Plessis found the woman’s version and the timeline she provided unlikely‚ he said that her guilt as an accessory to her son’s alleged murder would be decided in the trial court.
“It is not in the court’s view possible that all that is presented by way of autopsy could have been inflicted after [the woman] fell asleep and before she woke up the next morning. The woman had also said that her child was clothed.
“It is impossible to clothe someone that has been burnt [due to the nature of the injury]. The only inference that can be drawn is that the clothing was put on after the child was deceased. However‚ this is all inferential‚” Du Plessis said.
What the magistrate was convinced of was that the evidence before the court laid the blame on the man‚ who was denied bail.
The woman’s claim that her partner told her‚ “I f***ed him up for good this time‚” when she confronted him about the child’s injuries indicated that there had been some form of assault by the man previously‚ the court found.
According to the postmortem the boy sustained burns to about 60% of his body. The court also heard previously that the child had sustained fractures to his femur and rib bones.
The woman’s bail amount will be fixed next week after police have verified the address of her mother‚ with whom she will stay for duration of the trial.
The man and the woman will return to court together early in May for the matter to be transferred to the high court.