Privately appointed forensic expert Segaran Naidoo says the bruises to Courtney Pieters’ vagina was “without a doubt” inflicted post-mortem.
Naidoo, appointed by the defence counsel, took to the stand in the trial against rape and murder accused Mortimer Saunders at the Western Cape High Court on Monday.
The toddler, who went missing from her Pluto Street home in Salberau, Elsies River, on May 4 last year would have celebrated her fifth birthday today.
According to Naidoo, the vaginal wall bruises detected by State witness and forensic pathologist Johan Dempers were inflicted after the toddler's death.
However, Naidoo also added he was not convinced of any bruising to Courtney’s vaginal walls as there “was no evidence to show it was (inflicted) ante-mortem”.
“The bruising was clearly post-mortem. The patterns of bruising have not manifested. I am not disputing the science (of methods used to detect red blood cells), but I am disputing the application of it to this case,” Naidoo said.
Last week, defence advocate Mornay Calitz read Naidoo’s findings during the cross-examination.
“The appearance of lesions was well in keeping with decomposition and saying this was most possibly bruising was stretching the possibility to probability. One can’t make a credible distinction between the two,” Calitz read from Naidoo’s expert advice.
On Monday, Naidoo said if fingers had penetrated the vagina of “especially a child”, they would feel pain and have reacted to it. However, according to him, there was a lack of a vital reaction as there was “no active bleeding”.
Dempers previously said due to the state of decomposition of the body he could not be dogmatic to say if the injuries were inflicted ante- or post-mortem.
Juanita Pieters previously said she wanted the trial “to come to an end because the (lengthy) trial and hearing what was done to my daughter is making me sick”.
In his plea statement, Saunders admitted to poisoning Courtney by feeding her ant poison due to “compounded ill feelings" between himself and Juanita. He denied raping Courtney but said he performed a sexual act on her corpse by inserting three fingers into her vagina.