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Dad halts child abuse case over social worker report

The sentencing procedures of the parents convicted of assaulting their 5-month-old daughter have been postponed after the father complained about the contents of a social worker report regarding him.

The sentencing procedures of the parents convicted of assaulting their 5-month-old daughter have been postponed after the father complained about the contents of a social worker report regarding him.

Published Dec 7, 2021

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CAPE TOWN - The sentencing procedures of the parents convicted of assaulting their 5-month-old daughter have been postponed after the father complained about the contents of a social worker report regarding him.

The North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria earlier convicted the 22-year-old mother and 24-year- old father and called for a social worker’s report and several others before considering their sentence.

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Counsel for the father told Judge Hennie de Vos on Monday that the mother had the opportunity to look at the report and to rectify what she considered to be incorrect facts, but the father never had such.

The court was told that the father did not agree with everything stated by the social worker in the report, nor did he agree with the findings and recommendations.

It was said that the father wanted to also call his own expert to give input to the court regarding his background and related facts.

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The contents of the reports are unknown, as the court will only deal with it when the separated couple are back in court on March 1.

The parents, who may not be identified as a young child is involved, earlier denied any knowledge of how the now 18-month child dubbed Baby L suffered about 33 fractures by the time she was five months old.

The prosecution on Monday said it was ready to proceed with the sentencing procedures, and it also had victim impact reports on how the abuse had affected the child.

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It is understood the reports have been submitted by family members, which include the sister of the baby’s mother.

She has been taking care of Baby L since the couple were initially charged.

Prosecutor Cornelia Harmzen said if the father challenged the contents of the social worker report, he could raise them when the social worker was in the witness box this week.

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But Judge De Vos said “fair is fair” and the father should have the same opportunity as the mother.

The parents face sentencing following their assault and child neglect convictions.

They were acquitted of attempted murder.

The premature baby, born in February last year, first landed in hospital at the age of two months with 18 rib fractures; and again at the age of 5 months with at least 33 fractures.

While she was in her parents’ care, they simply said they had no idea how she suffered the injuries.

But Judge De Vos said it was clear both had assaulted the child and they were protecting each other. “It is a case of ‘hear no evil, see no evil’,” he said.

The parents are out on bail and will hear their fate on March 1.

Cape Times

Related Topics:

Crime and courts

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