News / South Africa

Ilse de Lange
2 minute read
12 Oct 2017
6:00 am

Springs mother ‘not a passive jellyfish’ she tries to portray, court hears

Ilse de Lange

Prosecutor attacked the forensic criminologist's evidence that the accused had been controlled by her husband 'like a puppet on a string.'

The wife of the man accused of abusing her and their five children and holding them captive appears in the Springs Magistrate's Court in Ekurhuleni, Tuesday 2 July 2014. Picture: Neil McCartney

The Springs mother, who is accused of severely abusing and neglecting her five children, was not the “passive jellyfish” she tried to portray to a criminologist and was able to stand up for herself, the High Court in Pretoria has heard.

Prosecutor Jennifer Cronje yesterday again attacked the version of forensic criminologist Dr Pixie du Toit that the 39-year-old mother had no will of her own because of years of abuse and had been controlled by her husband “like a puppet on a string”.

Cronje painstakingly pointed out numerous discrepancies between the conclusions in Du Toit’s report and the mother’s actual evidence in court.

Du Toit conceded that the mother’s evidence in court differed from the information she supplied to her in so many respects that she became “despondent”.

The mother had, for example, never told her she tried to run away from her husband a few times but she had testified about those attempts in court, but said the court should keep in mind that this had happened only a few times during a marriage of some 20 years. She said her findings were not only based on what the woman had told her, but on other collateral information.

Du Toit denied she was overly sympathetic and biased towards the mother and stood by her finding that the woman was a victim who had been manipulated by her husband.

She reiterated her evidence that the woman had become passive and no longer tried to resist after being assaulted so many times over so many years.

Asked why the husband would have feared his wife running away and going to the police if he had total control over her, Du Toit said the husband was paranoid and suspicious, which explained all the cameras on his property.

He had to keep control over his wife by showing her physically what would happen if she disobeyed him.

The woman and her husband have denied guilt to a range of charges relating to child abuse and neglect, attempting to murder their 11-year-old son, drug dealing and failing to send the older children to school. The father also denied raping and sexually molesting his eldest daughter.

Cronje yesterday said the state would seek to re-open its case to present the evidence of forensic psychologist Gerard Labuschagne. –