Baby X's mother stands alone in the dock to face the law
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DURBAN - FOUR years after a Durban baby was tortured to death, allegedly at the hands of her mother and grandmother, only one of the accused will be back at the dock to face the law.
The body of Chatsworth's Baby X, as dubbed by media to protect the identity of her siblings, who have since been taken to a place of safety, was found in her Chatsworth home in November 2014, sparking outrage among community members.
In April this year, the 55-year-old grandmother died from ill health in the Westville Correctional Centre holding cells.
The child’s mother stood alone at the dock on Thursday when she appeared at the Durban High Court on Thursday.
The matter was postponed to August 20 as arguments over the merits of the case continue.
It’s alleged the toddler was burned with cigarettes as her mother and grandmother allegedly rubbed chillies on her genitals, starved her and tied her to the bed.
The pair had been on trial since 2015. They have been remanded in custody, and face a barrage of charges including assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, child abuse, sexual assault, and one count of murder and rape.
Both accused had pleaded not guilty to the charges.
But Baby X’s mother seemed agitated in the dock, following her mother's death.
Despite a state psychologist earlier confirming the pair were mentally fit to stand trial, Baby X’s mother is arguing that she is mentally unstable following a car accident in 2001 and could not determine right from wrong. She had told the court previously that her mother had bullied her into abusing the child.
In 2016, Baby X's mother came under fire during a vigorous cross-examination by state advocate Cheryl Naidu, for not showing emotion when photographs of the child's bruised body were shown in court.
“You see your child, dead, for the first time ... you see all her injuries. And yet you are not moved at all. What kind of a loving mother displays that level of detachment?
“This is because it was not the first time you had seen them ... you had seen them before and you and accused number two (her mother) inflicted the injuries together,” Naidu suggested.
The mother responded: “I was trying not to cry. My emotions are deep inside. After my accident, it takes me a little longer to react like a normal human being.”
The woman, in her thirties, claimed she had been "drugged" and unaware of the bruises on Baby X and her siblings who stayed with their grandmother as she begged on the street.