Prisons oppose bid for dad to see ill boy

2013-12-03 00:00

THE Department of Correctional Services is opposing an application by the grandmother of a terminally ill boy, Dante-Lee Govindsamy, who wants his jailed father to visit him in hospital.

Jaiseelan Govindsamy is serving a 20-year jail sentence at New Prison for stabbing his wife, Anthea, to death at Howick Falls in 2007.

The acting head of the Medium A section of the prison, Thokozani Radebe, has accused Govindsamy’s family in papers of abusing the court system.

He also alleges that the urgency around the application is “self created”.

Radebe said Govindsamy is classified a “high security risk and aggressive person” and the chance of him escaping from custody if he were taken out to visit the hospital is high.

Dante-Lee’s family is seeking a court order allowing his father to visit him at Grey’s Hospital twice a week “on days convenient to the prison authorities for periods of not less than one hour”.

The court will consider arguments for and against granting the application on Thursday this week.

The boy, who suffers from Leigh’s disease, a rare disorder that affects the central nervous system, suffered respiratory failure on November 18, and has been on a ventilator at Grey’s hospital since.

His grandmother, Pushpam Govindsamy, said in an affidavit that doctors have started to counsel her regarding “decisions that need to be made about his future”.

“Despite Dante-Lee’s state of health, he is aware of his surroundings and by way of gesturing it has become clear that he wants to see his father,” she said.

She said this is not surprising as the boy shares a close and affectionate relationship with his dad.

She said Dante-Lee had become “obsessive” in his need to have contact with his father from the beginning of 2013 and a clinical psychologist recommended that regular and increased contact was in the boy’s best interest.

Having regard to Dante-Lee’s current condition, the need for him to see his father “cannot be more urgent and obvious”, she said.

She also said the decision of taking the boy off the ventilator, which she is being called on to make, was placing and “unimaginable burden” on her and was a decision that she believed his father should make.

In his response, Radebe said it was not clear from the affidavit if the father is called on to make the decision of whether to take the child off the ventilator or to give him emotional support.

He also said it was evident from the papers that the boy’s alleged need for his dad dated at least as far back as June this year, but said the family had waited five months before launching the urgent application. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

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