A case in which a woman is charged with assault occasioning child bodily harm after allegedly beating her seven-year-old stepdaughter with a metal rod has been postponed to the 12th and 15th of March.
The suspect, 35-year-old Doreen Barreto is said to have assaulted the child for refusing to wash dishes and returning from school dirty.
Appearing before Broadhurst Magistrates Court on December 18th, Doreen’s attorney successfully requested for the trial to be temporarily delayed so his client could spend the Christmas Holidays with her family.
It was a decision that did not go down well with the complainant’s father, the suspect’s soon-to-be ex-husband, Lucas Barreto.
The 55-year-old has since written to the Minister of Defence, Justice and Security, complaining of the delay in the case.
He feels the interruption is unnecessarily adding to his daughter’s trauma.
Speaking to The Voice shortly after the trial was postponed, an irate Lucas said: “My daughter told the DPP representative and the social worker that she does not want to go to court because it frightens her. I just want this matter to be over. These are delaying tactics by the defence. But I will not rest until justice is served!”
The devoted dad says he sacrificed his marriage to save his child, walking out of his matrimonial home on 25 April 2019, roughly eight months after his wedding day.
“I moved out of this toxic marriage to protect my child!” the Holy Apostolic Church Minister told The Voice in a previous interview, adding he has since filed for divorce.
Although she is facing a single charge, Doreen- a Kanye native and mother-of-four, including a two-year-old daughter with Lucas – is said to have assaulted her stepdaughter on more than one occasion.
Testifying before court, Tsholofelo Primary School Head- Reginah Matshaba, said the young girl was sent to her office on March 11th, 2019, after the child’s class teacher noticed she had bruises on her face.
According to the School Head, when she asked what happened, the girl replied that her step mum had beaten her.
Matshaba said she immediately called the school’s Guidance and Counselling teacher to inform her about the student’s allegations.
“I undressed the young girl and found that she had bruises on her back and buttocks and she told me Doreen used a belt to beat her up. She had a wound on her forehead, which she said her stepmother used a metal rod to hit her. We called the social worker, who took the child to the police station to open a case,” testified Matshaba, adding that it was not the first time Doreen was accused of abusing the little girl.
“This was not the first incident. In 2018 we called her to school after realising the child had bruises. She admitted she assaulted her and promised to never do it again,” stated the school leader.
Doreen is expected back in court when the trial resumes in March.