A 42-year-old woman whose husband allegedly stabbed her a dozen times in front of their two children must decide if his threeyear sentence is sufficient punishment.
The husband appeared in the Randburg magistrate’s court this week on a charge of attempted murder after an altercation at the couple’s North Riding home in September when both were treated in hospital.
The husband hoped for a plea deal this week. Prosecutor Dinesh Nandkissor asked for a two-week postponement to arrange meetings between the couple and their extended family.
Nandkissor said the discussion could allow the state to draw up an agreement on a sentence. If not, the case would go to trial.
“This has been so draining,” said the mother. She said that she, her son and sevenyear-old daughter had received counselling. She was surrounded at court this week by friends and family who wore shirts carrying messages condemning spousal abuse.
She told the Sunday Times her husband’s first lawyer — who was representing him in their pending divorce — had offered her money to drop charges.
“I told them there was no way after what he did to me,” she said.
After a meeting on Wednesday with Nandkissor, his manager and her husband’s criminal defence team, she said she was underwhelmed by the possibility of a threeyear jail term.
“He stabbed me in front of my children. They are traumatised. I am traumatised. We’re terrified of him,” she said.
“Whenever I see the scars, I remember what happened. I don’t know how long he should go to prison, but three years isn’t enough.”
The alleged altercation is detailed in statements provided to the court by the woman and the couple’s neighbours, who rescued her and drove her to hospital. At the time she was bleeding from wounds across her body.
Animosity between the couple had been simmering for more than a year, with the woman obtaining a protection order. When she moved out of their home, her husband allegedly allowed her to visit the children only at certain times. However, a Randburg magistrate ordered that she be allowed to return to the home if she wanted to.
In September, the husband unsuccessfully applied to have the protection order lifted.
“My husband’s advocate told the magistrate that if I move back to the house something will happen to me, and [my husband] will go to the high court to get me out,” she said.
A few days later, she received an e-mail from the lawyers informing her that “they had no intentions of keeping [her] away from [the] house”.
On September 13 she arrived at the complex where the family lived. Her husband allowed her in. Moments after she had greeted her children, an argument began and her husband allegedly started punching her in the face.
“Suddenly one of his fingers got stuck in my mouth and I bit him strongly. I ended up on the floor and he kicked me several times on my head,” her statement said.
When she tried to run, her husband allegedly picked up a kitchen knife and followed her, stabbing her in the back, neck and head. It was only when their 11-year-old son called out that he stopped, she said.
Neighbours who heard the altercation took her to Olivedale Clinic for treatment. Her husband was arrested several weeks later and remains in custody after being denied bail.
The husband’s criminal lawyer, Piet du Plessis, declined to answer questions from the Sunday Times.
“The matter is still set for trial, so I don’t think it would be appropriate to comment in the press before it is finalised,” he said.
A criminal law expert, professor Stephen Tuson, said that the prosecution was required by law to consult the victim during section 105 plea proceedings.
“The law states that the prosecutor has to take the victim’s circumstances into account, and with their permission can even add further conditions to a sentence, for example insisting that the accused pay for the medical expenses of their victim.”