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Johannesburg - A lawyer for the man convicted of culpable homicide, child abuse, and the rape of his 10-month-old baby girl asked the court to be lenient on his client on Monday.
“The lack of direct evidence and the incidents of aggression by accused two (Netto) ought to cast them in a different light when it comes to sentencing,” William Karam told the High Court in Johannesburg, sitting in the Palm Ridge Magistrate's Court.
Karam represents Adriaan Netto, 37. Netto's partner, 34, the baby's mother, may not be named to protect the identities of her other children.
They are expected to be sentenced on Monday afternoon.
Netto wore a grey jersey with a blue hat covering his head, while the woman sat next to him with her head bowed, listening as Judge Majeke Mabesele reviewed the evidence against them.
Karam argued that a lack of witnesses and evidence of Netto physically abusing the child should be a factor for mitigation of sentence.
He also detailed Netto's troubled childhood.
On September 18, Mabesele found the couple guilty of culpable homicide, child abuse, and the rape of their 10-month-old baby girl.
Mabesele found that while the couple had not murdered the child, as charged, their neglect and abuse made them culpable for the baby's death in March last year.
“(I) conclude that the deceased sustained bodily injuries while under the care of her parents,” the judge said.
“They had a legal duty to look after her.... Being 10-months-old, the deceased was unable to injure herself.”
Mabesele said the baby's injuries, including broken ribs, anal damage caused by penetration, plus vaginal and liver damage, had been inflicted on the child.
Testimony by Netto and the woman that they did not know how the baby was injured was not true.
“(The) injuries suggest long-standing child abuse,” Mabesele said.