The family of toddler Orderick Lucas should join convicted killer Melvin Volkwyn in the dock and take responsibility for his death.
This was the statement by defence advocate Susan Kuun as she ripped into the family for neglecting the one-year-old, and that the community failed to safeguard the child when they knew he was being mistreated.
The state and the defence teams went head-to-head at the Western Cape High Court yesterday as they submitted their arguments as part of sentencing procedures.
Last month Acting High Court Judge Nolundi Nyati found Volkwyn guilty of murder despite a lack of physical evidence linking him to the crime.
During the emotional trial, the court heard of the horrendous illnesses Orderick had suffered which included pneumonia, septic sores on his head and nose, ulcers on his genitals and anus as well as the pubic area, and malnutrition.
In her victim impact assessment report, mom Davedine Lucas told the court that she blamed herself, as Melvin was her friend.
“I also blame myself. My son would have been four years old and I hoped for the day that he would go to crèche with his brothers. My children ask why Mel hurt their brother,” she said.
“Mel was my friend and I am cross with him. He had an unhealthy obsession and would buy him clothes and sweets even when I didn’t ask.”
A scathing Kuun told the court as Davedine was not willing to testify, she was unable to cross-question these claims.
“She says that she longed for the day her child would go to daycare but the child was already at daycare and in fact it was the daycare that noted that Orderick had not pitched up for two days and they informed the social workers,” the advocate stated.
Kuun did not mince her words when she said those who knew of the neglect Orderick suffered should also have been charged with his murder.
“There is an African saying that says it takes a village to raise a child. Unfortunately in this matter it took a village to kill a child.
“Because even though the court must consider the interests of the community, every person that knew Orderick wasn’t being cared for, that Orderick wasn’t being fed or that he was not where he was supposed to be and that includes his parents and grandparents.
“All of them are supposed to stand next to the accused in this matter.”
State prosecutor Robin Lewis labelled Melvin “a wolf in sheep’s clothing”, saying he preyed on the little boy and gained the trust of his family before snatching and killing him.
He said while the state conceded that the conditions the boy was raised in were not optimal, he had nonetheless been murdered.
Meanwhile, Melvin’s younger sister, Beaulynne, 32, was seen weeping in the public gallery after the break, saying she was attacked by a member of the Stratford Community Crime Watch outside court.
The incident prompted the state prosecutor to issue a warning that the gallery would be cleared if there was another altercation.
Speaking to the Daily Voice, Beaulynne says: “She said why am I drukking my bek in and I said ‘aunty, you can’t talk so ombeskof with me’.
“Then she asked me who am I and I said I am Mel’s sister and she said Mel is a n*** en hy gaan ’n n*** word daar binne en my ma se p***.
“Then I said she mustn’t talk so lelik, she is a groot vrou, then she started rukking her [Niquieta Volkwyn] and I came to keer af en toe ruk sy vir my.”
Beaulynne returned to court with a knop on her kop but said she was unsure if she would be opening a criminal case.
The Daily Voice approached the patroller for comment but she refused.
During the trial, witness Betty Cloete accused some neighbourhood watch members of trying to stop her from speaking to police.
Cloete said she had crucial evidence that Orderick had been seen on the Monday with his mom despite claims he was last seen on the Sunday.
The case resume on 28 September for Nyati to hand down the sentence.