Doctors’ findings belie Rosselloty’s claims

2012-12-06 00:00

A GREY’S Hospital doctor has disputed suggestions by murder and rape accused Gerald Rosselloty that genital injuries sustained by a six-year-old girl he is accused of raping could have been caused by a fall or horse riding.

Dr Meroonisha Suleman answered questions from Rosselloty about reports compiled by doctors V.C. Dembetembe and M. Depestre, who examined the child at the hospital in September 2006.

The doctors are no longer in the country.

Their reports indicated the girl sustained extensive internal injuries, including damage to her hymen and a deep cut that required stitches, as well as injuries to her external genitalia.

They also recorded extensive bruising on her body and a burn on her arm indicative of “physical assault”.

Rosselloty questioned where the doctors had obtained the child’s medical history from, which stated that sexual abuse was suspected.

He asked if this was based on an “assumption” by the child’s mother that the child was raped.

Suleman said it was normal to obtain the history from a relative, but doctors would form their own opinions on whether a sexual assault had occurred when they examined the patient.

Asked about differences in the reports — one of which found the cut to have been 50 mm deep and the other stating it was two centimetres (20 mm) deep — Suleman said the examinations were conducted under different circumstances.

Dembetembe would have examined the child in the ward under a lamp, when she was not yet sedated, and she had recorded that the girl was complaining of pain.

Depestre’s examination was done in theatre, when the child was anaesthetised.

Suleman said the child’s injuries were indicative of “trauma and/or sexual abuse”.

Replying to Rosselloty, she said it was unlikely, though “possible”, that the injuries were caused by fingers, but agreed they could have been caused by a “jagged, sharp object”.

Suleman dismissed Rosselloty’s suggestion that the child could have fallen on “jagged rocks” in the park, saying this could not account for the injuries.

“The internal genitalia are very well protected,” she said.

Rosselloty also questioned whether the hymen could be ruptured by horse riding, prompting Judge Rishi Seegobin to ask him if he was suggesting the girl had been horse riding that day.

He said he wasn’t.

The judge has indicated that he wanted to finalise the trial by the end of next week.

He agreed to adjourn the case until Monday to give Rosselloty — who is now representing himself — time to prepare argument.

• ingrido@witness.co.za

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