22 March 2019

South Africa: More Info Needed for Trial of Couple Accused of Child Abuse, Attempted Murder

The Western Cape High Court has postponed the child abuse case of a stepfather and his ex-wife to give the parties time to further prepare for their trial.

Taswell Louw and his ex-wife Renzia face charges of attempted murder and child abuse as a result of allegations relating to the treatment of two children.

The couple had apparently been married for a "relatively short period" before the alleged incidents took place.

The children - aged 9 and 3 - were allegedly left outside their home in Uitsig, Cape Town for long periods. Sometimes one child wasn't given any food while locked out.

The children were left in Taswell's care during the day between December 2016 and February 2017.

According to the charge sheet, one of the children sustained burn wounds and was not taken for treatment for a rupture to his small intestine. The State believes the failure to seek medical treatment resulted in malnourishment and sepsis.

Interventions saved the one boy's life, but he was left with severe spastic/dystonic cerebral palsy, intellectual and physical disability, the inability to swallow, and blindness.

The 3-year-old died in April 2017.

A report into the late toddler's death will be used to determine if the child had died because of the injuries sustained, which could result in the charge being changed to murder.

On Friday, the court heard that a medical expert was needed to consider medical reports. The court allowed the postponement of the case to enable this.

The matter will return for further pre-trial arrangements on May 24.

Taswell remains in custody, and Renzia's bail was extended.


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