A young mother sighed with relief last week after a Lobatse High Ccourt judge gave her a suspended sentence for killing her newborn baby.
Tebogo Baabusi, 21, could not thank her state appointed lawyer, Thura-yaa Mooketsi, enough after she convinced Justice Gaongalelwe to reduce the charge from murder to infanticide.
Baabusi was initially charged with murder three years ago after she dumped her newborn baby in the bush where it died. The charge was later reduced to infanticide after her defence attorney had convincingly argued in court that the young mother was mentally unstable when she committed the offence.
“She was only 19 years old and she was alone when she gave birth. Naturally she would not have known how to deal with the post natal depression and unfortunately she ended up dumping the baby in the bush,” said Mooketsi
“There’s a provision in law that where a woman by any willful act causes the death of her under-12 months old child when the balance of her mind is disturbed by reason of her not having fully recovered from the effects of giving birth to the child, she shall be guilty of an offence of infanticide,” said Mooketsi in an interview with The Voice after trial.
Baabusi said when the incident occurred she was staying at her boyfriend’s place in Molepolole while her mother was at the lands. “I really don’t know what happened except that there was no one to assist me through the labour process. After giving birth I wrapped the baby with a shawl and left it in the bush. Later, when my boyfriend’s sister noticed my situation she phoned my mother who later came and took me to the hospital. I was put under observation and the police were later called and they detained me after I showed them where I put the baby.”
When the case eventually went to court,Baabusi was granted bail and four months later she fell pregnant again. Trial resumed when she was six months pregnant and she was remanded until she gave birth in prison.