SOUTH AFRICA: Cop Charged With Bashing Baby’s Skull, Denied Bail

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By Jenna Etheridge: Details of the injuries a policeman allegedly inflicted on his ex-girlfriend’s baby were read out in the Blue Downs Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday.

The man, a father of four children, chewed gum in the dock as he listened to the prosecutor during his bail application. The court has not yet heard whether he is the baby’s father. He cannot be named in terms of a court order.

The prosecutor said the 10-month-old baby was still in hospital after being admitted last month. She had multiple skull fractures, bruises to her head, and swelling on the brain.

He said he would not indicate at present whether he intended pleading guilty or not guilty.

The constable was charged with attempted murder, common assault, and contravention of a protection order.

He would not say whether the first two offences were allegedly committed while the order was in place.

The State is opposing his release on bail because it believes he will harm witnesses. Answering in Xhosa, the 36-year-old said he did not know who the witnesses were. Later he confirmed he knew two of the witnesses: the victim and her mother.

While he did not have any other previous convictions, two serious charges came to light during questioning. He said he was charged with murder in 2013 and released on R1 500 bail. The case was provisionally withdrawn last year.

He was arrested for intimidation in 2014 and paid bail. He said witnesses did not come to court, he got his bail money back and the matter was withdrawn.

Dressed in a black jacket and jeans, he leaned against the dock and looked calm. He said he was not married and had a steady girlfriend for two years who did not live with him.

It emerged that he seemed to have another girlfriend. He had four children – aged 9, 7 and another two aged 5 – by different mothers.

The eldest child lived with him and the second child with his mother. The two youngest also lived with him because one of their mothers had got married and another had disappeared.

He paid a total of R4 400 in child maintenance and R2 100 for his home every month and was the sole breadwinner.

“No one can pay if I am denied bail and the bank will take my house,” he said.

He had been in the police force for eight years and had not received a salary since his arrest.

He said some people intended raising money for him if he was released. This would allow him to attend his disciplinary hearing.

The case continues.

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