A file picture of The 'Spring Monster's' wife in court. Picture: Antoine de Ras/ANA Archives

ZELDA VENTER

LEGAL Aid South Africa, which is paying for the defence of the wife of the so-called Springs monster, was blamed on Monday for the fact that the trial could not proceed after an adjournment of about four months.

The couple, accused of neglecting and abusing their five children aged between three and 16, briefly appeared in the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, after their trial was postponed in October last year.

The 39-year-old mother is pulling out all the stops to try and prove that she cannot be held accountable for not protecting her children against her husband. She wanted legal aid to pay for a psychologist to submit a report on her and to assist her legal team in defending her.

According to the mother she too, was a victim of her “abusive” husband and her hands were tied to come to her children’s rescue.

Advocate Harry Prinsloo, acting on her behalf, told Judge Eben Jordaan that legal aid had not yet appointed anyone to draw up a psychological report on the mother. 

Judge Jordaan, who postponed the matter to next Monday (Feb 26), said if the report was not ready by then, a representative of legal aid had to come to court to explain why this was not done. 

Prosecutor Jennifer Cronje said last year that she did not have a problem with the mother obtaining an expert report, but she questioned whether the defence was not on a “fishing expedition” to try and find a defence for her.

The judge responded that he would be interested to hear what a psychologist’s opinion was regarding the finding of forensic criminologist Dr Pixie du Toit, that the mother suffered from the so-called Stockholm Syndrome.

According to Du Toit the mother cannot be blamed for not protecting her children and not acting against her husband, as she too, was a victim of his abuse.

The prosecution vigorously attacked certain findings made by Du Toit and said that she was not a qualified psychologist and she could thus not make certain findings.