Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A Tragic Circumstance

May 17 2011

Tony Brooks 

‘Despair’ led to wife-killing

He was the “perfect example of a caring husband”, but after caring for his chronically ill wife 24 hours a day for 14 years, it got too much for him. 

Four days before Christmas, 2008, as Joan Brooks lay paralysed on the floor of the bedroom they had shared for more than 40 years, Tony Brooks took the World War 2 Beretta he had inherited from his father and shot her twice in the head. 

On Monday, the former chief provincial traffic inspector - now 70 - shuffled sadly into the dock of the Durban High Court to plead guilty to murder. 

He will be sentenced by Acting Judge Jeff Hewitt on Tuesday afternoon. 

“One cannot help but have sympathy for his predicament,” his lawyer Robin Palmer submitted during the hearing on Monday. 

State advocate Rea Mina agreed, labelling the case “tragic”, and saying there were clearly circumstances to warrant a deviation from the legislated 15-year prison sentence for the crime. 

In his guilty plea read out to the court, Brooks said his wife had been chronically mentally and physically ill since 1994, and he had taken early retirement in 1996 to care for her full time.
She had tried to end her life several times - once taking ant poison - “which was extremely distressing”, he said. 

On December 21, 2008, he gave her breakfast in bed as usual, and then helped her up. She fell down and he could not get her to the chair in the lounge. 

Realising that she could not walk at all and that he was too weak to even drag her, he called for an ambulance. 

Several calls later - including calls to his adult children - when the ambulance had not arrived, he got out his gun and shot her. 

“Although I felt sad, helpless and despondent when I did so, I knew what I was doing and could have stopped myself from shooting her,” he said. 

It was left to his son Gary Brooks, a warrant officer in the SAPS, to fill in the gaps of his parents’ lives over the past 10 years as his mother became more and more ill, with finances too thin to put her into care or to get professional help. 

The policeman testified that his father was completely dedicated to his mother, who suffered from pre-senile dementia and who, at times, had been institutionalised and treated in hospital. 

But money ran out and it was compounded by a violent house robbery in 2000, in which his father’s car and everything of value was taken. 

His stolen credit card was used fraudulently and he could no longer afford to pay for medical aid, which was costing him almost half of his pension every month. 

In a statement submitted to the court, Gary Brooks said the deterioration of his mother’s condition - “a long, slow torture to our hearts” - had had a profound effect on his father. 

“He is the most caring and loving father a son could ever wish for, and I bear nothing but love and forgiveness in my heart towards him,” he said. 

“He was the perfect example of a caring husband … he went beyond the call of care … he watched the deterioration of my mom, the person he had loved for 40 years.” 

Palmer said there was no doubt that Brooks had felt “trapped and helpless”.
“This court cannot punish him any more than he has punished himself. He has to live with what he did,” he said. 


4-day rape ordeal

May 17 2011 

Police are searching for three suspects for the alleged abduction and rape of a Cape Flats woman. 

The 20-year-old Philippi woman was found on Sunday morning, tied up and wrapped in black garbage bags. 

Her abductors allegedly held her hostage for nearly four days during which she was repeatedly raped and assaulted. 

Her horror started on Tuesday morning when she was knocked unconscious while walking to Nyanga terminus. 

The shaken woman says that her three attackers raped her several times between Tuesday and Saturday night when she was dumped on an open field in Wesbank. 

Resident Wayne Jansen found the woman with her hands and legs tied and wrapped in black bags. 

“One of the children came to tell me that there’s a woman screaming from the top of the hill,” he says. 

“At first I didn’t believe the child then I asked my neighbour to go with me to see if there was anything.” 

When they arrived at the top of the hill along Hindle Road they found the helpless woman sitting upright. 

She had managed to bite a hole in the bag to breathe. 

“She was wet because of the mist and she looked very dehydrated,” he explains. 

“She told us that she was abducted on Tuesday and that she was dumped here on Saturday. 

“She was very confused and tired, and I immediately called the police.” 

Police spokesperson Andre Traut confirmed the incident, saying a case of abduction and rape is being investigated. 

“When police arrived she was found covered in a black bag. It’s believed the suspects were trying to suffocate her,” Colonel Traut says. 

The men are still at large and police request anyone who can assist them with the investigation.


Backyard abortionist

May 16 2011 

Worked from Hospital

An alleged backyard abortionist apparently operating for weeks from a city hospital, was nabbed before he could allegedly abort a young Pretoria woman’s unborn child.

The man, thought to be part of a larger syndicate of bogus doctors carrying out illegal abortions in Tshwane, was arrested on Saturday afternoon at Louis Pasteur Hospital and Women’s MediCross Clinic. 

Claiming to be a doctor at the hospital, it is suspected the man used documents with the medical institution’s letterhead to convince the women of his credentials. 

Hospital staff now have fears over security management while police are investigating how many women’s lives he may have endangered. The man and his apparent operation were uncovered when an alert security guard became suspicious of a young woman waiting outside the hospital’s pharmacy. 

Questioning the woman, security guard Tebogo Mashula, of B4S VIP Security, discovered that she was to meet a “doctor” whom hospital security and staff had been monitoring for weeks.
Mashula questioned him when he arrived to meet the young woman. 

Following them into the pharmacy, Mashula watched as he requested pain medication before the two took the lift to the hospital’s 8th floor where he allegedly told his victims he had an office.
“When I started questioning the man I became suspicious. There was something about him and he didn’t properly answer the questions I asked him,” she said. 

Mashula ran up the stairs and reached the 8th floor just as the two got back into the lift to go down to the reception area. 

Back downstairs, Mashula saw the two in the coffee shop. 

Alerting the café manager that the man could be a bogus doctor, Mashula watched as the manager questioned the man. 

“While the manager spoke to the man I questioned the woman. I asked her what she was doing at the hospital and she said she had come for an abortion. 

“The manager told me that the man had given her a business card stating that he was a labour lawyer.” 

Mashula contacted the police. 

The police questioned and searched the man, recovering several abortion pills in his jacket - which can only be bought with a prescription. 

B4S VIP Security managing director, Zubair Gafoor, said the man’s alleged scheme involved using hospital documentation to convince women that he was a practicing doctor at the hospital.

“Once he convinced them he takes them for coffee at the hospital café where he allegedly explains how the abortion will take place. 

“Our investigations have revealed that he allegedly also tells them that apart from working at the hospital he has a private ‘surgery’ behind a Gold Exchange shop in Church Street where he performs the operations. 

“Here he allegedly abandons his victims once he has taken their money. Our biggest fear now is how many women he has ‘operated’ on and what has happened to them.” 

Echoeing Gafoor’s fears, hospital manager, Feroze Habib, said they had become aware of the man three weeks ago. 

“Through our own investigations we have discovered that this man is allegedly pretending to be a doctor who does abortions. When we questioned him he told us that he was a labour lawyer as well. 

“Our other concern is how many people he is working with as people who do these kind of things hardly ever work alone. 

“We strongly believe that there are a number of people impersonating doctors who are carrying out abortions on unsuspecting women.” 

Police spokeswoman, Warrant Officer Wanda Olivier, said a fraud case had been opened and the suspect would appear in the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court today. 



May 16, 2011

Hospital matron still at work

The KwaZulu-Natal health department said yesterday that it was investigating allegations that a senior nurse at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli Hospital, in Durban, had sold antiretroviral medication to dealers who sold street drug "whoonga". 

 It is alleged that Zanele Dlamini, a matron in the trauma unit at the hospital, was selling the HIV and Aids cocktail and that it was used in the concoction of whoonga. 

The scandal has rocked the hospital. Nurses say they are angry with their managers for trying to sweep it under the carpet. 

The nurses, who asked not to be named, are upset that the matron has kept her job since the allegations surfaced in April. 

They said they were disappointed that the hospital management let her continue to work at the hospital "as if nothing had happened". 

"The incident is being talked about in hushed tones in the hospital passages. 

"No disciplinary action has been taken against her," said a nurse. 

Health Department spokesman Chris Maxon said that an internal investigation was under way.
Maxon said the department was in possession of affidavits relating to the allegations against the matron. 

"These are very serious allegations against the senior member of staff.
"Through this investigation the department is determined to find the truth in the matter," he said. 


No Hell


South Africans need not fear hell's fiery chambers if they do not vote for the ruling party in local polls Wednesday as threatened by President Jacob Zuma, a senior church leader said on Monday.
"People won't go to hell," Thabo Makgoba, the Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, told a news conference on election monitoring.

"People have to exercise their right to vote and choose whichever party they want to vote for."

Zuma claimed his party's higher influences while on the municipal election campaign trail in February, when he said a vote that did not go to the African National Congress (ANC) was a ballot for the devil.

"When you vote for the ANC, you are also choosing to go to heaven

When you don't vote for the ANC you should know that you are choosing that man who carries a fork... who cooks people," Zuma was quoted by The Times as saying.

"When you are carrying an ANC membership card, you are blessed

When you get up there, there are different cards used but when you have an ANC card, you will be let through to go to heaven."

He again turned to God in April: "There's always the presence of God where we are. When you vote for the ANC even your hand gets blessed," he was quoted as saying in City Press.

The ANC has won sweeping victories in South Africa's post-apartheid polls since 1994, but faces growing anger over shoddy municipal services for the poor, state graft and high crime amid a growing challenge from the opposition.

'Shoot The Boer'


ANC puzzled

The ANC says it is "extremely disappointed and puzzled" by a High Court decision refusing it leave to appeal an earlier finding on the singing of a controversial struggle song containing the lyrics "dubula ibhunu" (shoot the boer). 

It would now take the matter to a higher court.

"We are perturbed and shocked by the acting judge's decision as we believe that he appears to have misunderstood the nature of the relief which was sought by the ANC," the ruling party said in a statement on Monday.

Earlier, the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg ruled that the lyrics "dubula ibhunu" were prima facie incitement to murder.

In his order, Acting Judge Leon Halgryn said "... the publication and chanting of the words 'dubula ibhunu', prima facie satisfies the crime of incitement to murder".

This was an amendment to his original order that only contained the word "incitement" and formed part of a judgment that dismissed an attempt by the ANC to intervene in the matter and appeal his order.

Not over

The ANC said on Monday that it would now take the matter to a higher court.

"The African National Congress is extremely disappointed and puzzled with the ruling of the South Gauteng High court to refuse our request for leave to appeal an earlier finding by the same court relating to the singing of a freedom song (dubula ibhunu).

"The ANC had earlier approached the South Gauteng High Court to grant us leave to appeal its earlier ruling that the singing of the freedom song was unconstitutional and fitted the crime of incitement.

"We have thus instructed our lawyers to approach either the Full Bench of the South Gauteng High Court or the Supreme Court of Appeals to grant us the leave to appeal."

It remained the ANC's conviction that a different judge/court could have come to a different conclusion on the matter.

"In addition to his refusal to grant us leave to appeal his earlier finding... Acting Judge Halgryn went beyond the request before him and made a finding that the singing of the song incited the commission of murder and constituted hate speech," it said.

The judgment is separate to the ongoing Equality Court hate speech case by AfriForum against ANC Youth League (ANCYL) president Julius Malema after he sang the words several times last year.

It relates to two members of the Society for the Protection of the Constitution where one member, Mahomed Vawda, planned to use the words at an anti-crime march in Mpumalanga last year.