Day-care owner seeks light sentence

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Maria Amakali

Windhoek-The defence attorney in the case against the owner of a day-care where a toddler drowned in 2012 is fighting tooth and nail to ensure his client gets a light sentence.

Catharina Agnes van den Berg the owner of the day-care was found guilty of culpable homicide on January 16 after a child fell into a swimming pool and drowned.

Van den Berg’s defence lawyer Abraham Small made his first submission during the partly heard trial in the Windhoek Magistrate’s Court yesterday.

He argued it is the first offence that has been levelled against his client, making her a first-time offender.

Public prosecutor Hans Thourob emphasised it should be noted that the charge for which the accused has been found guilty is a serious one.

Van den Berg back in November 2012 failed to keep an eye on a toddler that drowned after he was placed into her care on that fateful day.

It is alleged the child crawled out of sight from the house then consequently fell into the swimming pool outside the house.

Ferreira Scholtz who was eleven months at the time was found in the swimming pool in Van den Berg backyard in Pluto Street in Academia, Windhoek.

Magistrate Ingrid Unegu found Van den Berg guilty of causing the toddler’s death through negligence, however evidence could not prove that the day-care facility was not fit for care.

Magistrate Unengu had acquitted Van den Berg on a count of operating an unregistered day-care.

Depending on the submissions from both the State and the defence, Van den Berg faces a five-year maximum sentence or a fine not exceeding N$20 000.

Magistrate Unengu postponed the matter to February 6 for final submissions, warning Van den Berg not to abscond. Van den Berg is out on bail.

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