News / South Africa

Ilse de Lange
2 minute read
3 Nov 2017
6:30 am

Boy, 5, testifies in case of murdered girl, 3

Ilse de Lange

Judge questions the advisability of such a young child testifying and what effect it would have on him.

Louisa Koekemoer accused alongside her husband, Kobus Koeokemoer, for killing her three-year-old daughter Poppie van der Merwe, is seen in the Pretoria High Court during the trail in October 2017. Picture: Jacques Nelles

A five-year-old boy, who was allegedly severely assaulted by Kobus and Louisa Koekemoer, wanted to tell the court what had happened to him because he wanted to know that someone believed him, the High Court in Pretoria has heard.

Judge Bert Bam questioned the advisability of such a young child testifying and what effect it would have on him.

But prosecutor Salome Scheepers said she was of the view that he was a competent witness, despite his age.

She said although the boy was very small, he had expressed the need to testify because he wanted to know someone believed him.

She said if things became “too difficult” she would request the court not to proceed. Bam wanted to know if a psychiatrist or psychologist was assisting the child and if he was receiving counselling.

Scheepers said the child, who was in Grade R, was in a place of safety where social workers were monitoring him.

Bam granted the state’s application for the child to testify behind closed doors through an intermediary, Elna Groenewald.

The Koekemoers have pleaded not guilty to a charge of murdering Louisa’s three-year-old daughter, Poppie van der Merwe, in October last year.

Poppie was rushed to the Rustenburg district hospital, where she was declared dead at arrival. According to a postmortem, she died of a blunt-force head injury.

A doctor who saw Poppie testified she had bruises and other injuries from her head, down to her legs.

The couple have also pleaded not guilty to charges of assaulting Poppie and the five-year-old boy, as well as neglecting the two young children and a 14-year-old girl.

The girl testified behind closed doors earlier this week.

Tanya Goosen, who looked after the little boy while the parents lived in Orania, earlier testified that the boy had arrived with blue ears one day and told her Kobus Koekemoer had dragged him across the floor.

A week later, he arrived with a black eye and a blue mark on his head, but did not want to tell her what had happened.

At a later stage, he told her Kobus had bought a wooden spoon to hit them and had kicked him and Poppie in the stomach. The trial continues on Tuesday. –

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