Supervision ‘too lenient’ for abuse dad

2012-07-02 14:33

A correctional supervision sentence would be too lenient for a man convicted of assaulting his son, the Johannesburg Regional Court heard.

Correctional services officer Themba Mjonondwane said today considering the nature of Bradley Connor’s crime, such a sentence would be too lenient.

“I find it difficult to put my head on the block and say he qualifies (for a community-based sentence),” he told the court.

On November 21 last year, Connor and his ex-girlfriend Malinda Marshall were found guilty of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

They abused their son Michael, leaving him brain damaged, blind, and immobile. He had to be fed with a tube and was later diagnosed with cerebral palsy.

The abuse began when he was three months old. He died aged six, on October 16 2011. The two were 18-years-old when they had him.

Mjonondwane said the community would also not understand if Connor was given a correctional supervision sentence.

“In my opinion, they (people) think justice is sending people to prison.”

Mjonondwane said Connor had acknowledged he violated the rights of his child and that he had contributed to the abuse by neglecting him.

He however, told the court Connor did not appear remorseful.

Marshall had told him she had seen Connor assaulting the child, but Connor had never admitted this to him.

“He said he felt bad, but that it was not his fault,” added Mjonondwane.

State prosecutor Carina Coetzee argued it would be ironic to grant Connor a community-based sentence as the abuse inflicted on the child was also considered domestic violence.

Coetzee asked Mjonondwane if it would be appropriate to allow Connor to return to the same environment where he had committed the abuse.

“I don’t think so... being a correctional service officer, I think domestic violence is a very serious issue and I think it should be treated as such.”

Connor’s lawyer, Gert Scheepers, asked the court for his client to be granted a sentence which was partly suspended and partly correctional supervision. He said his client had matured since the crimes.

Speaking outside court, Women and Men Against Child Abuse spokesperson Vincentia Dlamini Ngobese said it was consoling that a correctional services employee viewed a community-based sentence as lenient.

“If the community doesn’t understand why people are out (of prison), they (perpetrators) should not be let out.”

Sentencing continues on July 13.

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