'I had to listen to her lies for days': Zephany judge

By Marelize Potgieter
09 March 2016

Judge John Hlope, presiding in the Cape Town High Court, had little patience with the defence’s closing arguments in the trial of the woman accused of kidnapping Zephany Nurse.

“I had to listen to her lies for days,” he said in response to a point made by her legal representative, Reaz Khan.

Read more: ‘I’m guilty of raising her, yes. I raised her with the help of God but I didn’t take her’

The woman, who’s accused of stealing Zephany Nurse from her parents, Morne and Celeste Nurse, claims she got the baby from a woman at the Wynberg railway station whom she’d paid R3 000 for a fertility treatment.

Earlier the accused had a miscarriage but didn’t tell her husband about it. The woman, who introduced herself as Sylvia, approached her when she’d gone to see a gynaecologist at Tygerberg Hospital. One morning a while later Sylvia contacted and told her she had a newborn baby whose parents didn’t want her.

After meeting Sylvia at the station the accused took the baby to the Retreat Clinic and told her family it was her own.

The judge questioned the woman’s credibility and said she lied to the police when they confronted her on 25 February 2015, demanding to know if she was the biological mother. “The evidence against her is overwhelming. Her version makes no sense.”

He also said he fount it very strange that for four months her husband couldn’t tell she was no longer pregnant.

Read more: Zephany Nurse’s birth mother breaks down in court

Morne Nurse listened attentively to the court proceedings while looking straight ahead of him. The accused, dressed in a pink top and jeans, smiled and waved at supporters in the public gallery.

Reaz argued that the state witness, Shireen Piet, was unsure during the identity parade and couldn’t immediately say without doubt that the accused was the woman she’d seen in the hospital years ago. “The state’s case that’s based on Mrs Piet’s identifications is unreliable.  It has to be proved beyond reasonable doubt.”

The prosecutor, Advocate Evande Kortjé, said the accused herself wasn’t sure about her own version of the events.

The judge will deliver his verdict on Thursday at 10 am.

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