Dying boy’s plea to allow jailed dad to visit him

2013-11-23 00:00

RELATIVES of a terminally ill boy are preparing to go to court to order the prison services to allow the child’s killer dad to visit him in hospital.

The boy, Dante Govindsamy (13), is in a critical condition on a ventilator in the Intensive Care Unit at Grey’s Hospital, and has reportedly been asking for his dad, Jaiseelan Govindsamy.

Govindsamy is serving a 20-year jail term for the murder of his wife, Anthea — Dante’s mother — who was stabbed 19 times at Howick Falls on March 25, 2007.

The youngster suffers from a rare neurological disorder, Leigh’s Syndrome, and his family have always known that he has a limited life expectancy.

In 2009 Judge Esther Steyn rejected Govindsamy’s defence that due to his psychological state at the time, he wasn’t able to control his actions.

She found that the cold-blooded killing — carried out in front of witnesses including the couple’s two children and Anthea Govindsamy’s best friend, Geraldine Govindsamy — was “goal directed and premeditated”.

Govindsamy’s lawyer, Kevin Chetty, confirmed yesterday that he has been instructed to move an urgent application in the high court as soon as possible to order the prison authorities to arrange for Govindsamy to visit his son in the ICU at Grey’s Hospital.

A letter to the Department of Correctional Services requesting permission this week had been met with a “curt refusal” by the authorities, he said.

He said the prison replied that it is the festive season and it would be a security risk for them to bring Govindsamy to the hospital to see his son.

“What is important here is what is in the best interests of the boy. He is in a critical condition and he can’t breathe without the ventilator. Hopefully humanity will prevail in this case,” said Chetty.

He said the youngster has been asking to see his father with whom he has always shared a close bond.

Govindsamy’s sister, who asked to be identified only by the name “Tiny”, told The Witness that whenever Govindsamy telephones to talk to him from prison the boy’s face “lights up with joy”.

She said the family had spoken to doctors, who believed that Dante needed to see his father at this time.

“In February this year he suffered a stroke and that caused a lot of damage. He can’t walk any more. On Sunday he was rushed to Grey’s Hospital and he is now on a ventilator,” she said.

“My brother has been punished for what he did and he is serving his sentence, but the child should not suffer for what his father did,” she said.

An emotional Govindsamy yesterday also contacted The Witness from prison and said he will do “anything” to see his son.

“I am desperate … he needs me,” he said.

Anthea Govindsamy’s former brother-in-law, Rowan Downwood, said that at this stage he and his wife did not want to make any comment on the matter.

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