Baby Samantha: Sentencing postponed

2013-09-30 17:05
Adriaan Netto. (Werner Beukes, Sapa)

Adriaan Netto. (Werner Beukes, Sapa)

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Johannesburg - Sentencing of a couple found guilty of raping, assaulting, and causing the death of their 10-month-old baby girl was postponed to 2 October by the South Gauteng High Court sitting in the Palm Ridge Magistrate's Court on Monday.

Adriaan Netto, 37, and his partner, 34, were found guilty by Judge Majeke Mabesele on 18 September. The woman may not be named to protect the identities of her other children. Both remained in custody.

Prosecutor Riana Williams told the court on Monday the woman had shown no remorse.

"The only remorse you have is that you are here and are going to be sentenced," Williams said.

Earlier, William Karam, for Netto, asked the court to be lenient on his client.

"The lack of direct evidence and the incidents of aggression by accused two [Netto] ought to cast them in a different light when it comes to sentencing," he said.

Culpable homicide

Netto wore a grey jersey and a blue hat, while the woman sat next to him with her head bowed, listening as Mabesele reviewed the evidence against them.

Karam argued that a lack of witnesses and evidence of Netto physically abusing the child - nicknamed Baby Samantha - should be a factor for mitigation of sentence. He recounted Netto's troubled childhood.

On 18 September, in finding the couple guilty of culpable homicide, Mabesele said while they had not murdered the child, as charged, their neglect and abuse made them culpable for the baby's death in March last year.

"[I] conclude that the deceased sustained bodily injuries while under the care of her parents. They had a legal duty to look after her... Being 10-months-old the deceased was unable to injure herself."

Mabesele said the baby sustained injuries to the anus, caused by penetration, vagina, and liver, and broken ribs. The couple's testimony that they did not know how the baby was injured was rejected.

"[The] injuries suggest long-standing child abuse," Mabesele said.

Read more on:    adriaan netto  |  johannesburg  |  child abuse

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