Pretoria - The forensic criminologist who had presented a report to court regarding the state of mind of the wife of the so-called “Springs Monster” came under the spotlight on Tuesday.
The State accused her of illegally conducting tests on the mother and coming to conclusions while she was not qualified to do so.
Dr Pixie du Toit, who also heads the Sinoville trauma centre, presented a report to the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, in which she concluded that the mother, 39, was herself a victim of her husband’s abuse.
The mother and her now former husband are facing a string of charges, including the abuse and neglect of their five children, aged between 3 and 16. The ordeal the children were subjected to came to light after their 11-year-old son was severely assaulted by his father and ran to the neighbours for help in 2014.
They alerted the police and social services, who in turn raided the so called Springs house of horrors.
They discovered the children in the dirty house and a tale of alleged abuse and neglect unfolded.
While it was not denied that the bulky man ran the household with an iron fist, the State maintained that the mother had a duty to protect and to take care of her children. But she maintained she was afraid of him as she too, was his victim.
During the trial, details emerged of assaults on the woman and older children, bizarre sexual practices and neglect. The mother testified that her husband told her what to do and what to wear. She said she had to dress like a prostitute to keep him happy and even had sexual encounters with female prostitutes at his insistence.
Du Toit testified that the mother suffered under her husband and was an abused woman. Among her findings were that she suffered from depression and post traumatic stress disorder.
Prosecutor Jennifer Cronje took Du Toit on about these findings and said she was not a psychologist or registered with the Health Professions Council of SA. Cronje said in terms of the law, Du Toit was not allowed to conduct these tests, let alone submit her findings to court. Du Toit defended herself by stating that anyone who had spoken to the mother would have concluded that she suffered from these symptoms.
Cronje argued that Du Toit was not qualified to conduct these tests, so the court should disregard her findings.