Pretoria - The parents of twins on Monday pleaded not guilty to attempting to murder the boy and assaulting the girl in 2012, when the twins were barley two months old.
The couple, who are not married and cannot be identified, is facing three charges in the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria.
The boy, only identified as J, suffered such severe brain damage at the time, that he cannot walk, talk or eat by himself. He has to be fed by means of a syringe and he has to receive around the clock care. He also meanwhile underwent two brain operations.
According to the boy’s grandfather, who is taking care of the twins now with the help of the twins’ grandmother, little J, who turns four next month, only shows two emotions – he cries when he is hungry or unhappy and he laughs when he is happy.
The parents, after the children’s premature birth, stayed with the mother’s parents on their North West farm.
The couple then left for the Christmas holidays to stay with the man’s parents in Rayton, near Pretoria. J was rushed to hospital on Christmas Day 2012, after he stopped breathing.
The doctor on duty noticed various bruises across his body. It was later established that he suffered a severe brain injury and skull fractures. The police were notified, as the doctors suspected that the boy was abused.
According to the prosecution these injuries varied in age. It was also later established that the twin girl, identified as M, had old fractures which were in the process of healing by the time she was examined.
The parents chose to remain mum regarding their defences. Both indicated that they had no idea how the babies suffered these injuries. The father claimed that he stood with J in his arms on Christmas morning, when he noticed that the child suddenly stopped breathing. He had no idea how this came about, he said through his lawyer.
The grandfather, the first witness to take the stand, said while the couple were living under his roof, the children were not abused. He said he was extremely shocked when he was called to the hospital on Christmas Day and the doctor said he suspected abuse.
The grandfather said he spoke to the couple and told them if they accidentally caused the boy to fall, they had to say so. His daughter did not say anything, while the children’s father explained that the boy simply stopped breathing. “He then added that ‘we stick to our story,’” the grandfather said.
The trial is proceeding.