The accused, Daniel van Schalkwyk, 35, is facing a charge of attempted murder and will remain in custody for the duration of his trial after he was denied bail on Wednesday – the presiding officer saying that his release would be an “abortion of justice”.
In her statement to the police, read to the court by the State prosecutor during Wednesday’s bail application, the mother of the child said that she and her young son had been sleeping in their home in Promised Land in the early afternoon of Saturday, May 27 when she heard someone knocking at the door.
The mother said that upon opening the door she saw the accused, who was furious about how long it had taken her to open the door.
According to the mother’s statement, the accused was extremely aggressive and lost his temper when all the commotion woke the sleeping child.
The accused apparently ordered the child to be silent, claimed not to love the toddler and blamed the child for complications he was having in his relationship with the boy’s mother.
According to the statement, Van Schalkwyk ordered his girlfriend to put down the child when she tried to console him.
Still angry, the accused again ordered the child to be silent before allegedly tying him up and beating him with a belt.
A medical examination found that the 15-month-old toddler had sustained bruises to his leg and scratches to his head.
During his bail application on Wednesday afternoon, the 35-year-old bricklayer expressed his intention to plead not guilty to the charge against him, adding that he had two children who were dependent on him to get to school, adding that they would be unable to do so if he remained in custody.
Van Schalkwyk further stated that he had no previous convictions or any pending cases and would not interfere with any of the witnesses or with the investigation itself.
However, Magistrate Conraad Prinsloo was not convinced that Van Schalkwyk’s release was in the interest of justice as he emphasised that the public was growing increasingly intolerant of violence against women and children.
“This is a 15-month-old and there are shocking allegations that this helpless baby was dangerously assaulted and tied up,” said Prinsloo when elaborating on why bail was denied.
“The allegation is that the accused was taking revenge because the mother of the child had failed to open the door timeously. This appears to be a factor that indicates the nature of the accused.
“This is not a trial to determine if he is guilty or not but the fact that the accused was there, that the mother was sleeping before he arrived and that police found injuries to the small child is corroboration for the fact that the infant must have been hurt. Therefore, there is a strong case against the accused."
Prinsloo added that releasing the accused under these circumstances would be an “abortion of justice”.
“The court is not convinced that, if released, the accused will adhere to bail conditions as it is very easy to get to a child of 15 months who is unable to defend itself.
“Children need to be protected. We are guilty of many crimes but our worst offence is manhandling babies.”
The matter was postponed to next month for further investigation.
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