News / South Africa

Ilse de Lange
2 minute read
27 Jun 2017
5:10 am

Baby twins’ parents escape jail terms

Ilse de Lange

The parents used extreme violence on their children, but could only be convicted as accessories to their own crimes.

Court-hammer.

A couple convicted of being accessories to the attempted murder and serious assault on their two month-old twin babies have been sentenced to correctional supervision.

Sentencing the 28-year-old father from Rayton and the 26-year-old mother from Kempton Park, Judge Eben Jordaan said he could understand why the state had asked for imprisonment as what had happened to the babies was horrifying, but he had to take the best interests of the children into account.

He said there was a real danger that the children could be left destitute if their parents went to prison. The mother was their primary caregiver although they were in foster care with her parents and the father contributed financially to their upkeep.

He sentenced them to five years’ imprisonment, conditionally suspended for five years, and to three years’ correctional supervision. They will remain under house arrest, will have to perform 16 hours of community service per month, complete rehabilitation programmes. may not use alcohol or drugs or visit bars and casinos.

The judge earlier found that the two had used “extreme violence” to injure their premature twin babies, but could only be convicted as accessories to the crimes as the court could not find who did what to the babies.

The baby boy was rushed to hospital in the early hours of Christmas morning 2012 with a cracked skull and brain bleeding and needed emergency surgery to save his life.

He is now severely disabled and cannot see, chew, swallow, talk, sit or walk. His sister had four fractured ribs and an infection in her leg which had already started to heal.

Judge Jordaan said the boy needed 24-hour care seven days a week and the tragedy of his situation could not be underestimated.

He had been robbed of his chance to a normal life and would be dependent on others for the rest of his life.

However, it was clear that the mother had a good relationship with her children and could understand her son, although he could not talk.

To take their parents away from them would not be in the best interest of the children, he added. – ilsedl@citizen.co.za