Evidence: Dad intended killing baby

2012-07-10 22:34
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Pretoria - Evidence presented in court proved that Nolan Schoeman had a direct intention to kill his baby, the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria heard on Tuesday.

Prosecutor Cornelia Harmzen argued that evidence by medical professionals and the testimony of a young boy proved that Schoeman had intended to kill his son Wade.

She urged the court to reject Schoeman's claims that he could not remember anything and to accept the evidence of a young boy who testified that he saw Schoeman hit the baby with a fist on the head.

Harmzen argued that the State had proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Schoeman and his lover Marissa Rudman were guilty of murdering their baby.

The only inference that could be drawn from the two-month-old baby's severe injuries was that his parents had caused them and knew he was going to die.

She submitted that the two should be convicted of abusing Wade and another young boy.

Medical evidence

Wade died of severe head injuries four days after being admitted to the Steve Biko Hospital in Pretoria in April 2009.

He had been diagnosed with pneumonia at another state hospital a week earlier, but Rudman discharged him, against medical advice, a day later.

The court heard medical evidence that the baby had such severe head injuries that his skull was coming apart.
A tear to the membrane under the baby's upper lip suggested abuse and facial trauma.

Wade also had two broken forearms, which were already healing, 22 broken ribs, lung contusions possibly caused by a direct hard blow, finger marks on his face and chest and unusual injuries on both feet.

Two doctors testified that the injuries would have been immediately visible.

The baby's lip injury would have bled profusely and his head injury would have resulted in projectile vomiting, a high pitched scream, convulsions and unconsciousness or slowly going into a coma, they said.

Harmzen told the court that Rudman had tried to apportion some blame to Schoeman, but had become entangled in her own guilt and lies.

Harmzen contended that Rudman had either inflicted the baby's injuries or should have seen them when she bathed and changed the baby's clothing, but did nothing to help him until he started having convulsions.

Rudman previously claimed she had noticed bruises on the baby's head only six days after he was released from the state hospital, but thought they had been caused by the struggle to insert a drip into his head.

The totality of the evidence showed that Rudman had been aware that her baby was severely assaulted, but did not assist or try to save her baby in any way, Harmzen argued.


Rudman's advocate Karin Alheit argued that the State had not proved any of the charges beyond a reasonable doubt against her client.

She said Rudman had consistently denied being aware of any ill-treatment or abuse of her baby by Schoeman and there was no evidence that she had abused either the infant or the young boy.

Alheit submitted that the State had not proved any conduct on Rudman's part that caused the death of the baby either by commission or omission.

Rudman was a battered and abused woman who had been subjected to continuous and vicious assaults by Schoeman.

She had been worried about her baby and had wanted to take him to a paediatrician, but had no money or transport.

However, Rudman had reacted immediately on realising the baby's condition was serious and had made arrangements to take him to hospital, Alheit said.

Schoeman's advocate Mabonga Ledwaba argued that both parents were equally guilty, but said the State had at most proved their guilt on a charge of culpable homicide.

He contended that the baby's injuries were the result of their lifestyle and use of drugs.

However, the State could not prove that either of them intended killing the baby.

Judge Cynthia Pretorius will deliver judgment on 13 August.

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