More than six months after the trial of the so-called Springs monster and his estranged wife was postponed to obtain a psychological report on the woman’s mental state while they allegedly abused their five children, the trial which had been set down for two weeks, once again had to be postponed on Monday
Gauteng High Court Judge Eben Jordaan was told that the report is still not ready. The prosecution wanted the court to launch an investigation into why the Krugersdorp psychologist is dragging his heels.
Prosecutor Jennifer Cronje wanted Judge Jordaan to place the psychologist on terms to deliver his report. She said the court was assured that the report would be ready by the end of April this year.
Two weeks were set aside to deal with the report and other issues, before the court was due to deliver its judgement.
“This situation is not acceptable to the State,” Cronje said.
Judge Jordaan replied that it was also not acceptable to him.
The judge in February this year demanded that a representative of Legal Aid South Africa explain why the report, which was apparently commissioned last year already, was not ready.
The judge was told that the psychologist needed two months to consult with the woman and to finalise the report.
It now came to light that although the psychologist had last week eventually consulted with the 39-year-old mother, he still had to compile his report.
Her advocate, Harry Prinsloo, told the court that he has done everything within his power to try and speed-up the report, but there were a number of delays.
Judge Jordaan, after meeting the parties in chambers, ordered the psychologist to in writing, confirm when his report will be ready and when he will be ready to testify in court.
Judge Jordaan indicated that the court was able to hear the matter from June 18 to June 22. He, however, provisionally postponed the matter to May 15 to receive the feedback from the psychologist.
The woman’s defence in October last year told the court that she will not call witnesses to give evidence on her behalf, but that she will call a psychologist to testify that she too, was her husband’s victim and that she could not defend her children against her husband.
Both parents cannot afford to pay for their own defence and they are being defended by advocates appointed and paid for by the State.
The children - aged between three and 16 when their parents were arrested in 2014, are in a place of safety.
They were rescued from the so-called house of horrors after the police raided the double storey house. This was after the couple’s then 11-year-old son ran to the neighbours for help as his father had severely beaten him.
The police and social services uncovered what they called “a filthy nest” with rats “as big as puppies” running around the house.
The husband last year closed his case and declined to testify or call witnesses in his defence.
The man, also 39, was once again neatly dressed in a shirt and tie and he appeared in high spirit as he was led from the holding cells to the dock by the police.
He smiled and laughingly talked to a group of friends who support him without fail during each court appearance. The man even laughingly showed the frowning police a peppermint in his hands which was handed to him by his friends.
The solemn looking mother, who is out on bail, meanwhile avoided her husband as usual and did not even glance in his direction as she took her place far away from him in the dock.