Springs dad hung son by his wrists
Johannesburg - The bail application of a father accused of abusing his wife and five children was postponed in the Springs Magistrate's Court on the East Rand on Wednesday.
The State presented two witnesses as it opposed bail.
Forensic expert Gerhard Labuschagne said he had a brief meeting with the accused on Tuesday.
He submitted that the accused - who cannot be named to protect the identity of his family - had done things to his wife and children that were “tantamount to torture”.
Labuschagne said the man was capable of repeating such actions in future.
“Should he be released on bail, he could ...prevent witnesses from coming forward.”
Asked whether it was possible that the accused suffered any mental illness, Labuschagne said he had not picked up “any red flags” that indicated this.
Warrant Officer Rudolf Jansen, also for the State, earlier took the stand.
He told the court of the bad conditions the family had lived under, with rats and rat droppings littering the kitchen.
The children, aged between two and 16, did not attend school.
Reading through the medical report of one of the man's children, Jansen said the young boy had suffered numerous bruises and scars to his body.
The 11-year-old boy also had a scar on his head from being hit with a knobkerrie.
Testifying in Afrikaans, Jansen relayed to the court how the young boy had said his father had hung him for two days from the wrists.
When asked to be set free, his father used teargas on him.
The family and tenants who rented dwellings on the property of the accused feared him.
Concerned community members who had signed a petition calling for the court not to release the accused, as well as members of non-governmental organisations packed the court.
They gasped in shock as they heard the details of the alleged torture.
Some of them cried silently.
Jansen, however, indicated that the 11-year-old boy and his 16-year-old sister both said they loved their father.
The accused man stood in the dock, at times crying uncontrollably and wiping tears from his eyes.
He wore what seemed to be a brand new shirt which was slightly crinkled.
Throughout the proceedings, he kept his gaze to the front of the court, avoiding any eye contact with the packed gallery.
Testifying in his favour was his sister's mother-in-law.
The elderly woman said she had heard of the man's arrest on the news and had decided to come and help him.
She told the court his wife had also assaulted her children.
She claimed to have seen the woman assault her 16-year-old daughter and there was video evidence of this.
Earlier, Jansen had testified that the house contained a great deal of pornographic material.
The sister's mother-in-law told the court that the wife had a lot of erotic toys and would spend much time in her bedroom.
After delivering her testimony, the woman walked past the accused and he nodded at her.
She walked back to her seat in the court gallery and some of those who were seated curiously tried to get a glimpse of her.
The man was arrested last month after his 11-year-old son fled the house and went to a neighbour, seeking help.
The neighbour called the police and the man was arrested.
While the accused was initially charged with kidnapping and assault, the court heard that additional charges, including rape, would be added.
The accused was said to have forcefully had sex with his wife.
Judgment in the man's bail application would be delivered on Thursday.