Baby Daniel, who can also not be named to protect the identities of his siblings, died in 2016 when he was just three years old.
Matshitse found that his mother had caused the boy’s death by not doing anything about the abuse he had suffered at the hands of her boyfriend. Matshitse also rejected the excuses the couple gave for the injuries the toddler had sustained.
The court rejected the evidence of both the mother and her boyfriend on the basis of the testimony from expert witnesses – two pathologists.
The man had claimed that the child had fallen into hot bath water, and hit his head. But this was ruled to be untrue. The head injuries the boy sustained, according to the experts, were from a blunt force not from falling.
The experts also rejected the man ‘s claim that the toddler had sustained an injury to his elbow because he had fallen from a bicycle. According to the experts, the injury the boy sustained was caused by a person and not from a fall.
The court also rejected the man’s and the boy’s mother’s versions that the bruises under both his eyes were from walking into a sliding door.
“The court questions how it is possible that a child could sustain injuries under his eyes from just walking into a door,” Matshitse said.
According to the experts, the man’s imprints found on Baby Daniel’s upper body could not have been caused by lifting the boy up, as was claimed in court. The experts found that the imprints were from the man pressing the toddler down into the water.
The experts also found it untoward that conducting CPR on the child would cause injuries to his chest, as his mother had claimed. According to the experts, only considerable force would have caused injuries to his chest and not resuscitation.
Sentencing is expected on January 21, while the boy’s mother will be back in court on Friday to apply for her bail to be extended.