Woman 'helped in rape of her baby'
A woman who aided in the rape of her two-month-old baby in her Meadowlands, Soweto, home has been found guilty.
The 29-year-old woman, who cannot be named to protect the identity of her child, was yesterday convicted of defeating the ends of justice and abetting or aiding her child's rape in the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg.
The child has been placed in foster care.
The mother was charged with defeating the ends of justice, rape, abetting or aiding her child's rape and child abuse. She was, however, acquitted of rape and child abuse charges. The baby was her only child.
Handing down judgment, Judge Carla van Veenendal labelled the mother a "liar who is protecting someone". The judge said the mother had on several occasions told the court that the child fell off her bed and sustained injuries to her private parts.
However, according to a medical report the child was bleeding from injuries caused by sexual penetration. The court heard that the mother had made a barrage of contradictory versions as to what happened to the child during cross-examination.
"Her lies have caused the police not to conduct detailed investigation and, as a result, the perpetrator will never be brought to book unless she speaks the truth.
"Her versions kept on changing to suit the evidence brought forward in court," Van Veenendal said.
The judge said the child was violated by a man who came or was procured by the mother to rape her, or who the mother colluded with. Semen was found on the baby but couldn't be taken for DNA testing.
Prosecutor Elivera du Plooy asked the court to postpone the sentencing which was scheduled for today while they wait for a thorough evaluation report on the mother in order to give a proper sentence.
Van Veenendal said the accused had lied to the police and nurses at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital and also mentioned to a friend that if she reported the matter her husband would be arrested.
The husband, who was in court yesterday, was apparently questioned by police but never arrested. The court heard that the man, who did not live with the mother and the child, was paying rent for the family.
In November last year, a neighbour found the woman screaming in her room while her baby lay on the bed struggling to breathe. The baby was subsequently taken to hospital. The mother claimed on that day she dreamt of her husband cheating.
Criminal lawyer Tumelo Pilusa said he believed the state advanced the rape charge on the basis of the amended Sexual Offences Act.
"The act states that anyone who uses any object to penetrate a woman's private parts faces a rape charge. Hence the mother was acquitted because the semen was found on the child and that could only mean the suspect is a man," he said.
Pilusa said the state was only trying its luck in pushing for a rape charge against the mother. Women and Men Against Child Abuse Operations director Vincentia Dlamini urged the court to set a precedent and give the mother a lengthy jail term.
"The reason our children continue to be abused and raped is because someone knows about it and keep quiet... The scourge of women and child abuse will not be defeated when mothers continue to protect perpetrators," she said.