Alleged baby snatcher granted bail

A woman who allegedly kidnapped a newborn baby at Groote Schuur hospital 17-years ago was released on bail of R5000 on Friday.

The woman may not be identified for the protection of the child, who is still regarded as a minor.

The woman appeared in the Cape Town District Court before Magistrate Mark Engel, who warned her not to have contact, direct or indirect, with the girl or any State witnesses, as one of the bail conditions.

He told her this included no contact with the girl or witnesses via Facebook or any other social media forum.

The woman was released on bail following an agreement between prosecutor Bonnie Currie-Gamwo and defence attorney Reaz Khan.

The large courtroom was packed to capacity, with some reporters seated on the floor in the well of the courtroom.

When proceedings ended, the magistrate asked the public to leave the courtroom "in an orderly fashion".

The magistrate said the accused had a fixed address and was not considered by the State to be a flight risk.

She also had no previous convictions, pending criminal cases, or outstanding warrants for her arrest.

Engel ruled that, under the circumstances, it was in the interests of justice to release her on bail.

The accused is alleged to have kidnapped the baby on April 30, 1997, as she lay in her sleeping mother's arms in the hospital.

Engel said the purpose of bail was to secure the accused's attendance at proceedings and not to determine her guilt or innocence.

As bail conditions, she was ordered to return to court on May 29 and to reside at an agreed address. She must also report to the police every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, between 5am and 8pm.