Court warns murder-accused mom
Pretoria - A Pretoria woman accused of bashing her 2-month-old baby to death was warned by the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on Monday not to talk to any of the State witnesses in her trial.
Judge Cynthia Pretorius warned Marissa Johanna Rudman not to talk to them about anything, after the prosecutor complained that she had been seen chatting to a State witness in the corridor while waiting for the trial to start.
Pretorius postponed the trial of Rudman and her former boyfriend Nolan Baron Schoeman until Wednesday. She also issued a warrant for the arrest of an unwilling State witness.
Pretorius warned Rudman to co-operate with her advocate Karin Alheit.
Alheit was appointed by the Legal Aid Board after the withdrawal of two previous advocates, allegedly because Rudman refused to co-operate with them.
Rudman is out on a warning. Schoeman’s bail was withdrawn in 2010 when he failed to appear in court. The couple face charges of murder and child abuse.
According to the charge sheet they abused their 2-month-old baby son Wade from birth and handled him in an inappropriate manner by, for example, lifting him by his feet.
The baby was admitted to hospital in March 2009 with pneumonia. Rudman allegedly discharged him herself and refused further medical treatment.
He was admitted to another hospital a week later, but was by then critically ill and had multiple injuries, some of which were already healing.
The baby’s injuries included an already healing rib fracture, a fractured forearm, extensive soft tissue injuries as well as brain haemorrhages.
The baby died on 7 April 2010 of a head injury.
The State alleges that the couple also severely abused and neglected another child over three years, starting when the child was four.