The so-called Springs house of horrors trial has been delayed after the mother’s legal counsel told the high court in Pretoria they wanted to appoint a psychologist to do further investigations.
Advocate Harry Prinsloo, who represents the 39-year-old mother, said they would need to get permission from Legal Aid before a psychologist could be appointed and were also consulting with further defence witnesses as two family members they wanted to call were no longer available.
Cross-examination of forensic criminologist Dr Pixie du Toit concluded yesterday with prosecutor Jennifer Cronje putting it to her that the mother was not just a victim as she had tried to portray.
The state has accused Dr Du Toit of doing tests only a psychologist was permitted to do and basing her findings that the mother had no will of her own after years of being abused by her husband on speculation.
Cronje put it to her that the mother blamed others and took no responsibility for her actions.
She said the mother had first tried to blame her 11-year-old son, saying everything was his fault because he was “very naughty” and then in court tried to put all the blame on her husband.
Cronje put it to Dr Du Toit that her report had been compiled from the point of view that the mother was a victim and that only her husband was a criminal.
Dr Du Toit conceded that the mother had not always complied with her duties as a mother, as evidenced by the extremely dirty house and the neglected children.
However, she pointed out the mother had been assaulted so many times by her husband when she tried to intervene or to run away that she had become passive and lost hope.
She stood by her view that battered women, such as this mother, displayed the same signs as Stockholm syndrome victims who came to identify with their captors as a survival strategy.
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 has denied raping and sexually molesting his eldest daughter. The trial will continue on Wednesday.