No jail time possible for Durban mom of baby thrown down a drain

Emergency workers worked furiously for hours to rescue a newborn baby after a resident heard cries from a stormwater drain. Her mother's defence team is asking that she receive correctional supervision instead of jail time.
Emergency workers worked furiously for hours to rescue a newborn baby after a resident heard cries from a stormwater drain. Her mother's defence team is asking that she receive correctional supervision instead of jail time.
Image: Jackie Clausen

The defence team of the Durban woman accused of dumping her newborn baby down a drain earlier this year is pushing for her to be given correctional supervision instead of jail time.

On Wednesday the 32-year-old woman, who may not be identified, stood in the dock at the Ntuzuma magistrate's court in a black jacket, animal print shirt and leather pants.

During her brief appearance, her attorney Jacques Botha told the court that the defence and state had nearly concluded a plea agreement. Botha also told the court that his client would meet correctional services representatives for them to prepare a report.

It emerged during the brief appearance that the state was considering withdrawing the charge of attempted murder and charging her with common-law child abandonment instead.

Magistrate Ravi Pillay warned the woman to comply with her bail conditions. She will return to court on October 9.

Her family has closely guarded her privacy during her appearances, despite an earlier court ruling that she cannot be photographed or named due to the sensitive nature of the case.

One family member told our sister publication TimesLIVE that the family was relieved about how the matter  was shaping up.

Botha said after the proceedings that discussions between the state and defence were at an advanced stage.

"The defence is pushing for correctional supervision and possible house arrest. Correctional services will be meeting with my client to compile a report," he said.

The woman was granted supervised visits with the child, now six months old, in August. This followed a dramatic four-hour rescue of the newborn baby in February after she was dumped into a stormwater drain. The baby is being kept in a place of safety.

The man believed to be the father of the baby was not present in court on Tuesday. However, he did attend the case during the woman's previous appearance.

The man, who cannot be named to protect the identity of the child, said previously that despite his extra-marital affair with the mother of the baby, he and his wife were eager to give the baby a home.


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