‘Family of slain Orderick Lucas should be sitting beside the accused’ says defence
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Cape Town– The defence counsel for convicted child killer, Melvin Volkwyn told the Western Cape High Court that the family of slain Orderick Lucas should be sitting beside him in the dock.
This as sentencing proceedings were under way in the Western Cape High Court on Monday against convicted child killer, 42-year-old Melvin Volkwyn.
Volwkyn was convicted for the murder of one-year-old Orderick on August 25 this despite the lack of evidence against him.
Volkwyn, a hairstylist, had maintained his innocence, saying he had handed Orderick over to his mother the morning after she was assaulted and sought medical attention.
He, however, admitted to making a “wrong decision” by taking the child to a drug house to buy a mandrax tablet, the day before the toddler’s disappearance.
Orderick’s maggot-infested body was found eight days after his disappearance on March 25, 2019, following extensive community searches in a stormwater drain in Wittebol Street, Eersterivier - metres from his grandparents home.
Due to decomposition, the cause of death remains unknown.
During proceedings before Acting Judge, Nolundi Nyati, both the state prosecutor, advocate Robin Lewis and defence counsel, Susanna Kuun called no witnesses.
However, during her argument, Kuun cited an African proverb: ‘It takes a village to raise a child’ but she took this further stating: “In this instance, it took a village to kill a child.
“Every person knew Orderick was not being cared for. All of them need to be standing next to the accused in this matter. This includes the parents and the grandparents,” Kuun submitted.
Prior to his death, Orderick and his twin brothers had been placed in the foster care of his maternal grandparents after a social worker’s investigation into the safety of the children.
Orderick had a broken arm which his mother Davidene Lucas could not give a satisfactory answer for, had sores around his mouth, and suffered because of Lucas’s drug abuse.
Kuun also submitted to the court that while Lucas has experienced her pain in a victim impact statement which the state presented to the court, nothing has changed.
“The children are not even being cared for by family, but cared for by outside persons.
“The parents and grandparents cannot take care of the children,” Kuun submitted.
She went further stating while it seems that economically, the parents could look after the children there seems to be other problems prohibiting this.
She said those problems include accepting accountability.
While Volkwyn has two previous drug convictions and a shoplifting conviction, Kuun said he is a first time offender in a matter as before the court.
She asked the court to show her client mercy as the minimum sentence for his crime is 15 years imprisonment.
“I submit that there are substantial and compelling circumstances that the accused is a candidate for a sentence of less than 15 years,” Kuun submitted.
However, Advocate Lewis called Volkwyn a ‘wolf in sheep’s clothing’.
He said Volkwyn gained the trust of those closest to the toddler to gain trust and strike at the optune moment.
“Like the wolf in sheep’s clothing, the accused was known to the deceased, his mother, family and friends.
“The accused used his position of trust and bought things for the deceased.
“He was obsessed with the deceased as noted in the judgement.
“As he moved through the herd of the sheep, he waited for the opportune moment to kill the deceased,” Lewis submitted.
Lewis went further, stating the latest quarterly crime statistics released and stated from April 2021 until June 2021, there had been a 66.2% increase in murders, meaning 5 760 people were murdered in South Africa.
He said in the 2019/20 financial year there was a drop in child murders by 7% however, in that financial year, 943 children were murdered in the country.
“Orderick might appear as a statistic but he was more than that. He had a future.
“Whatever that may have been. He would have grown up and touched people’s lives.
“He did not have that privilege.
“The question here is what is the appropriate sentence.
“The wolf was caught.
“The wolf must get punished irrespective of what his circumstances were.
“It does not justify, it does not lighten the load or relieve the accused of what he has done.
“And that was to snatch the life of Orderick,” Lewis submitted.
Volkwyn is expected to be sentenced on September 28.