The lawyer representing 25-year-old Megan Diedericks who has appeared in the Port Elizabeth Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday in connection with the kidnapping of a three-year-old boy, wants the charges to be changed to child stealing. Picture: Raahil Sain / ANA

PORT ELIZABETH - A lawyer representing a 25-year-old woman charged in connection with the kidnapping of 3-year-old Nefrin Roberts, wants the charge to be changed to child stealing.

The toddler was allegedly kidnapped from Summerstrand beach in Port Elizabeth earlier this month while out with his grandmother.

Megan Diedericks is being held in custody and appeared in the Port Elizabeth Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday. 

At the time of the alleged crime, police spokesperson Colonel Priscilla Naidu said the toddler and his grandmother were waiting for the child’s mother. 

“While there, a woman (who) introduced herself as Megan from Schauderville struck up a conversation with the grandmother and after a while both women  went across to the nearby shopping centre to buy liquor.”

They went back to the beach to wait for the mother who never pitched up and later Megan went back to the shop with the child to buy cigarettes. She never returned, the police said. 

The toddler was later found by police with Diedericks who was arrested in a shack in Victoria Park Drive. 

The state opposed the application on Wednesday and argued that a human being was not an object and could not be stolen.

“The child was taken away and the grandmother lost control.”

But the defence argued the child was not taken by force and that therefore the charge could not fall under kidnapping. It claimed that the child was entrusted to Diedericks and that the charge should be that of child stealing. 

The homeless woman said that when she returned with the child after going to the shop, she could not find the grandmother so she took the child with her. 

Police said at the time that the woman could not give a reasonable explanation about why she did not contact them.

The child was taken to Dora Nginza hospital for a medical examination and apart from being malnourished, he was fine. 

The toddler has since been re-united with his family. The matter was postponed until Thursday for a ruling to be made in the application. 

African News Agency (ANA)