A convicted killer will get the chance to see his dying 13-year-old son in hospital this week after a Pietermaritzburg High Court judge authorised two visits on compassionate grounds.
Judge Jacqueline Henriques attached strict conditions to the order she made on Friday, and ordered the Department of Correctional Services to arrange the visits this month and not next month.
Jaiseelan Govindasamy, who killed his wife, Anthea, at Howick Falls on March 25, 2007 in the presence of the boy, his sister and cousin, is serving a 20-year-sentence at New Prison.
The boy, who has serious health problems and, at four, was diagnosed with Leigh’s disease, a disorder that affects the central nervous system, has been on a ventilator in intensive care at Grey’s Hospital since November 18.
His grandmother, Pushpam Govindasamy, brought the application, asking that her son be allowed to see the boy twice a week in hospital.
She said the child longed to see his father, with whom he had shared a close bond. Every time they spoke on the phone, the boy’s face would light up and he would indicate he wanted to see Govindasamy.
The grandmother said only the father should make the decision whether to take the boy off life support.
The judge ordered Correctional Services to make arrangements so that Govindasamy could see his son once this week for no less than an hour.
The other visit had to be arranged in the week of Christmas. She also ordered that the necessary security precautions be taken and that the visits take place before or after visiting hours.
Judge Henriques’s decision was swayed by a letter submitted by Dr Mary Morgan, the head of paediatrics at the hospital. She confirmed the boy was in a critical condition.
“His condition has deteriorated and his prognosis remains poor. His life expectancy at this stage is limited.”
The department opposed the visits, saying the prisoner was classified “high-risk”, posed a security risk and, in terms of the Correctional Supervision Act, he was not entitled to visit sickly family members.