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Timelines in alleged child abuse trial vital for both parents

The parents of Baby T in the Gauteng High Court. Picture: Zelda Venter

The parents of Baby T in the Gauteng High Court. Picture: Zelda Venter

Published Aug 5, 2021


Pretoria - The mother of the 18-month-old baby who was allegedly brutally abused by her young parents is expected to testify today.

Yesterday, the State cross-examined the father of the child, known as Baby T, for most of the day.

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Counsel for the mother, who may not be named to protect the child, asked the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, Judge Hennie de Vos to stand down her evidence until today because she wanted to prepare a comprehensive timeline.

Timelines in this attempted murder and child abuse trial proved to be vital for both parents. The father kept a logbook since Baby T landed in hospital with broken fractures twice last year.

He used the logbook during his evidence this week, to try to prove when he saw the baby.

He said he had very little contact with Baby T, as the mother mostly took care of her.

He testified that they never lived together but that she and the baby would sometimes sleep over at his house.

He told the court that the mother was very possessive of the child, and that she never allowed him to spend time alone with his daughter.

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Thus, he said, he had no idea where she had suffered the more than 30 fractures which several doctors testified about.

But the prosecution’s gruelling questioning revealed that the father did spend time alone with the baby, including around the time the baby suffered a collarbone fracture.

The father, however, was adamant that he loved his daughter and would never hurt her.

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He and the child’s mother broke off their relationship shortly after the child landed in hospital for the second time, in July last year, when she was 5 months old.

At that time, Baby T had 31 fractures across her body and two soft tissue injuries.

She landed in hospital for the first time when she was 2 months old, when it was discovered that she had several broken ribs – some old and some new – on both sides.

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The prosecution's case is that even if the parents did not assault her themselves, they were guilty as they, as her caregivers, had a duty to protect her.

The mother is expected to hand in a timeline to the court. It consists of dates, to explain what happened on each day the child was in her care.

Baby T was removed from her parents’ care last year after doctors reported them to the police.

She is living with a family member who, this week, testified that she is happy and well adjusted.

Pretoria News