A man and woman were found guilty by the Johannesburg Regional Court on Monday of assaulting their baby in 2003, Women and Men Against Child Abuse said.
“We are incredibly disappointed that they were not charged with attempted murder,” said executive director Kevin Barbeau.
Bradley Connor and Malinda Marshall, now both aged 26, were ordered to return to the court for sentencing on January 27.
They were found guilty of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm. Both are out on bail.
Their child, Michael, who was three months old at the time of the assaults, died a blind quadriplegic at Avril Elizabeth Home on October 16.
“Sitting in court listening to everything that happened to this little boy was heartbreaking,” said Barbeau.
A medical professional said he appeared to have been throttled, causing haemorrhaging and blindness.
In October 2003, Michael was admitted to hospital with injuries which raised concern that he had been abused. A social worker looked into the case, but recommended that he be returned to his parents.
In November 2003, Michael was again admitted to hospital. He was bruised, blind and brain damaged. His parents – aged 18 at the time – were questioned.
Initially Michael's mother claimed his father had abused him.
Later, she retracted this and claimed she alone was responsible for Michael's injuries.
The baby was placed in the care of the Ikhaya Tini Vorster home, where he remained until 2007.
Marshall was convicted of assaulting the child in July 15 2005, after changing her plea to not guilty.
Connor received a suspended sentence, under a plea bargain in which he admitted to not feeding the baby and to not getting medical treatment for him.
In a new trial, both were charged with attempted murder in October 2009.
Connor applied for a permanent stay of prosecution, on the basis of his previous plea bargain. This was denied.
The attempted murder charge was later commuted to assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm.
Marshall has since married and has three more children, all below the age of eight. – Sapa