Jean-Jacques Cornish

Cape Town found guilty of kidnapping three-day old girl 18 years ago

A 51 year old woman has been found guilty in the Cape Town High Court of snatching a three-day old girl from her mother’s arms 18 years ago and raising the child as her own, a few blocks away from the biological parents

The judge dismissed as a fairly tale the woman’s evidence that she had acquired the child by an informal adoption process after suffering a miscarriage.

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The woman cannot be named to protect the new identity of the kidnap victim Zephany Nurse.

The husband of the guilty woman says he had no idea she had suffered a miscarriage and had believed her when she said the baby was her’s.

He says he will stand by his wife who faces five years imprisonment.

Judge John Hlope says the woman missed a golden opportunity to tell the truth.

He says it must have been her who took the child from the sedated mother.

It’s not rocket science to know that babies cannot be bought in South Africa.

The crime came to light when the kidnap victim’s biological sister attended the same school and noticed their uncanny resemblance.

DNA tests ordered by the parents revealed the truth.

The case has attracted huge domestic and international attention.

Outside the court yesterday (Thursday) a few demonstrators deplored the fact that the accused was being denied access to the kidnap victim.

The biological parents say they’re happy with the verdict.

Zephany wasn’t in court to hear it.

The family is believed  to have contracted to sell their story to a publication.

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Jean-Jacques Cornish is a journalist and broadcaster who has been involved in the media all his adult life.

Starting as a reporter on his hometown newspaper, he moved briefly to then Rhodesia before returning to South Africa to become a parliamentary correspondent with the South African Press Association. He was sent to London as Sapa’s London editor and also served as special correspondent to the United Nations. He joined the then Argus group in London as political correspondent.

Returning to South Africa after 12 years abroad, he was assistant editor on the Pretoria News for a decade before becoming editor of the Star and SA Times for five years.

Since 1999 he’s been an independent journalist writing and broadcasting – mainly about Africa – for Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape
Talk, Radio France International, PressTV, Radio Live New Zealand, Business Day, Mail & Guardian, the BBC, Agence France Press,
Business in Africa, Leadership, India Today, the South African Institute for International Affairs and the Institute for Security Studies.

He has hosted current affairs talk shows on Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape Talk. He appears as an African affairs pundit on SABC Africa and CNBC Africa.
He lectured in contemporary studies to journalism students at the Tshwane University of Technology and the University of Pretoria.

He speaks on African affairs to corporate and other audiences.
He has been officially invited as a journalist to more than 30 countries. He was the winner of the 2007 SADC award for radio journalism.

He’s been a member of the EISA team observing elections in Somaliland, Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, Zimbabwe, Egypt and Tunsiai.

In October 2009 he headed a group of 39 African journalists to the 60th anniversary celebrations of the Peoples’ Republic of China.

In January 2010 he joined a rescue and paramedical team to earthquake struck Haiti.

He is immediate past president of the Alliance Francaise of Pretoria.

Jean-Jacques is a director of Giant Media. The company was given access to Nelson Mandela in his retirement years until 2009.
He is co-producer of the hour-long documentary Mandela at 90 that was broadcast on BBC in January 2009.