Psychological evaluation for mother accused of abusing toddler

2014-01-14 14:58

A woman accused of seriously hurting her two-year-old girl needs psychological evaluation before applying for bail, the Pretoria Magistrates’ Court has ruled.

Magistrate Pierre Wessels said Linda Bruyns (20) would be able to see a psychiatrist while in custody before her next court appearance on Friday.

Speaking to the media outside the court, prosecutor Tania Carstens said she believed the order resulted from Bruyns’ actions during a previous court appearance.

“She will have to submit a psychological report on [her] mental state, as on previous occasions she could hardly walk or talk,” Carstens said.

Bruyns and her boyfriend Christo Conradie (33) were arrested after a doctor at the Steve Biko Academic Hospital alerted police about the girl’s injuries.

She had broken ribs, a fractured skull, bleeding on the brain, a punctured pancreas and kidney, severe bruising all over the body, and suspected brain damage.

Bruyns’ lawyer Pieter Coetzee read to the court an affidavit in which she said she was not present during the abuse.

On three occasions, she had received calls while at work about the child being injured, the court heard.

The child had attended school during the year, but had spent December in the care of Conradie.

On one occasion, Conradie claimed they had fallen down the stairs and on another that the child had fallen off a washing machine.

She was taken to the Steve Biko Academic Hospital in Pretoria but was later discharged.

“Then we went to a private hospital, but the doctor was shocked that the child was released and we took her back,” Bruyns said in her affidavit.

Her and Conradie, both of whom wore green tops, sat at a distance from each other in the dock and looked straight ahead at the magistrate. Bruyns constantly spoke to her lawyer.

Conradie’s lawyer, SD Nel, told the court his client was not ready to proceed with his bail application, as they wanted to go through certain information.

The court was packed with people wearing black clothes bearing the image of the two-year-old in hospital.

Members of the Pretoria North Community Policing Forum were also present.

They were opposing bail, based on the degree of violence of the charges.

The community was shocked and outraged at what had happened to the child, they said in a statement.

“By releasing the accused on bail, we as the Pretoria North CPF, along with the community, strongly feel that the public’s sense for peace and security will be disturbed.”

The matter was postponed to January 17.

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