Baby Michael sentencing postponed

2012-01-27 19:43

Johannesburg - Sentencing of a man and woman convicted of assaulting their baby in 2003 was postponed in the Johannesburg Regional Court on Friday.

Magistrate Frans Booyens postponed the matter to March 28 as the social workers' reports were not ready.

"Both the defence and prosecution are entitled to present evidence," he said.

This would allow both sides to petition for lighter and harsher sentences respectively.

Prosecutor Carina Coetzee said that Prof Lorna Jacklin would be called to describe the injuries' effects on the child.

Jacklin is a paediatric neurologist, an expert on shaken baby syndrome.


One of the doctors who cared for baby Michael at the Avril Elizabeth home would also give evidence about the effects on the child after the abuse.

Bradley Connor and Malinda Marshall, now both aged 26, were the parents of Michael - dubbed baby Michael in the media.

On November 21 the pair were found guilty of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm. A charge of attempted murder was dropped. Both are out on bail.

Connor appeared in the dock in a blue hoody, while Marshall wore a backless halter-neck top.

Baby Michael, who was 3 months old at the time of the assaults, died a blind quadriplegic at Avril Elizabeth Home on October 16 last year.

Non-governmental organisation Women and Men Against Child Abuse (Wamaca) representatives demonstrated at the court on Friday.

Spokesperson Vincentia Dlamini Ngobese said the organisation was disappointed that sentencing was not completed on Friday as expected.

The parents' age at the time of the assaults was no excuse for the crime.

"There are other resources available if parents really can't cope. There are children's homes, police stations... It's not an excuse anymore."

Earlier she said the organisation hoped for harsh sentences for Connor and Marshall.

"The sentences must be a warning to child abusers that there will be serious consequences for their actions and that consistent justice will prevail for any crimes committed against children."


The children's rights advocates held up placards bearing Michael's image in court but lowered them on Booyens' request.

When Marshall left court, Wamaca followed her to her car singing and showing her the posters of baby Michael.

As she and her new partner drove off, the posters were stuck onto the car.

Outside court the NGO displayed banners calling for life sentences for Marshall and Connor.

Connor waited inside the court for the children's rights advocates to disperse.

One woman held a doll in a cardboard coffin bearing the legend "RIP baby Michael".

Booyens rejected an application to allow cameras into the court but said audio recordings would be permitted.

Previously, a medical professional said baby Michael appeared to have been throttled, causing haemorrhaging and blindness.

In October 2003, Michael was admitted to hospital with injuries which raised concern that he had been abused. A social worker looked into the case, but recommended that he be returned to his parents.

In November 2003, Michael was again admitted to hospital. He was bruised, blind, and brain damaged. His parents - aged 18 at the time - were questioned.

Initially Michael's mother claimed his father had abused him.

Later, she retracted this and claimed she alone was responsible for Michael's injuries.

The baby was placed in the care of the Ikhaya Tini Vorster home, where he remained until 2007.


Marshall was convicted of assaulting the child in July 15, 2005, after changing her plea to not guilty.

Connor received a suspended sentence under a plea bargain in which he admitted to not feeding the baby and to not getting medical treatment for him.

In a new trial both were charged with attempted murder in October 2009.

Connor applied for a permanent stay of prosecution on the basis of his previous plea bargain. This was denied.

The attempted murder charge was later changed to assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm.

Marshall has since married and has three more children, all below the age of 9.

  • ruben.maistry - 2012-01-27 20:43

    The little angel is now resting in peace.It is highly probable that his death was a result of abuse by his parents. Reinstate the charge of attempted MURDER.This will send a strong message to those who harm defenceless people.

  • Ken - 2012-01-27 22:42

    Why has it taken eight years to get to this point? Justice delayed is justice denied. In this case the innocent child has been denied by the system.

      henk63 - 2012-01-29 09:33

      Court hearings is a money making racket. They NEVER get it over and done with as there is always something "missing". Cases are ALWAYS postponed while all involved rake in heaps of cash. Even when a criminal ADMITS to his crime, the case is "heard" many times, and it takes years to get a sentence. All the while everyone in court complain about the full rosters. It's all about money.

  • Michael - 2012-01-27 23:04

    And they call it "assault"? surely there is a name more appropriate for such a heinous crime. And that idiot social worker should be sent to prison as well!

  • Janice - 2012-01-28 08:18

    These "people" must get the harshest punishment EVER!!! Im totally speechless.

  • Shirley - 2012-01-28 09:23

    What kind of man would want to be involved with this woman after she has done this? I hope and pray that they give the severest sentence possible to these two unhuman creatures!The fact that they now have other children horrifies me! How can this be allowed! Pleeeease punish these "things" to the maximum!!!!!!

  • bobbirou - 2012-01-28 09:31

    I say remove their reproductive organs and mark them so that they can be identified as child abusers and warn people to keep their children away from them.

      Shirley - 2012-01-28 09:42

      Exellent idea! JUst as child molesters have to register,these creatures should too!!

      Tracey - 2012-01-29 16:06

      They should have "child abuser" tatooed on their foreheads!

  • Garth - 2012-01-28 10:02

    `Marshall has since married and has three more children, all below the age of 9.' Hang on , hang on! There is some sick d1ckhead out there willing to create more children with this thing?

  • ttrevenen - 2012-01-28 13:18

    She sould be sterilised and he should have been castrated long ago.

  • Jou - 2012-01-28 16:57

    Someone should find out where both of them live and stalk them until they both go insane.

  • zee.kimble - 2012-01-28 23:09

    I'm sitting here in tears... Looking at my little boy sleeping sweetly I cannot imagine how anyone could hurt their child! The joy he brings to me is inexplicable. May these monsters die a slow and painful death and burn in hell for all eternity. Justice better prevail here. RIP Baby Michael... :(

  • Tracey - 2012-01-29 16:04

    She should be sterilised and he castrated - with no anesthetic. I hope they spend the rest of their miserable lives in prison!

  • warqueens - 2012-11-09 14:06

    All three my sons has been taken Illegaly via bribes taken by government workers, including family advocates, welfare, police, court, citizens who are to impersonate police officers, the last docket has been made to dissappear aswell as the potection order. Even after they received the false court documents and the amr of my youngest son's pleads for help and of giving a discription of what has happened and who it is by giving a desicription of the \bad man\ Two of my sons are being abused physically and are neglected food, ages 12 and 9 ... My youngest from age 4 now age 5 is being raped and physically abused. False police smses was sent, with false police members. The government including some media has been unresponsive till date ... The president Jacob Zuma unresponsive since 22 July 2012 the others more than two weeks. I will not allow another Michael case in this country concerning my sons ...

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