WINDHOEK - A woman who was convicted of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm was cleared of the charge after already spending one year in prison. Katarina Shaanika was convicted of assaulting a seven-month-old baby boy by burning his chest and was sentenced to two years imprisonment of which one year was suspended for three years on condition she is not convicted of an offence involving violence during the time of suspension. However, when the matter came before the High Court for automatic review more than three years later, the review Judges Herman January and Marlene Tommasi set aside the conviction and the sentence. Judge January, who wrote the judgment, said the evidence produced in the trial does not support the conviction and further called the late submission of the case for automatic review a travesty of justice, which cannot be condoned. The judge ordered the Assistant Registrar of the Oshakati High Court to bring the judgment to the attention of the Magistrates’ Commission with emphasis on the prejudice and injustice the accused suffered as a result of the delay caused by the record only being transcribed three years late. According to the charge sheet, the child was in the care of Shaanika after his father placed him and his 11-year-old sister in her custody due to a misunderstanding with the biological mother, who resides in Windhoek. The injuries on the child were discovered after the sister reported to a neighbour. The accused packed up all her belongings and left the house and the child was taken to hospital where he spent four months. Photos taken at the time, depicted injuries that were shocking and included burn marks on his chest, on the buttocks, on and around his privates and on the left thumb. According to the judge, no medical evidence was led on the possible causes of the injuries, only hearsay evidence of burning with hot water emanating from the victim’s sister. The sister testified she was responsible for washing the victim with “lukewarm water”, but that she did not know the cause of the injuries. The accused testified that the victim had been staying with her since he was four months old. She said at some stage the child developed a fever or flu and when she took off his clothes to wash him, she discovered he had sores like blisters on his abdomen and lower back. She then took the child to a clinic and was referred to Oshakati Hospital where she was given medicine and sent home. The child then developed sores in the mouth and nose and she reported the matter to a sister of the father of the child, who allegedly refused to go to hospital with the child as it was late at night. As she was not comfortable with the situation, she decided to leave, the accused told the court.
New Era Reporter
2015-04-14 09:38:29 4 years ago