News24 Wire
3 minute read
3 Mar 2020
5:33 pm

Convicted child rapist denied bail on fresh pornography charges

News24 Wire

The State alleged that the Gauteng man downloaded and uploaded images of child pornography via the internet.

An alleged child pornographer after his arrest. Picture: SAPS

A convicted child rapist serving a five-year suspended sentence has been denied bail on new charges of child pornography in the Kempton Park Magistrate’s Court in Gauteng.

The 34-year-old suspect applied for bail on Tuesday after his arrest in February following an investigation comprising local law enforcement agencies and US crime forensic experts.

The investigation resulted in the arrest of five men, including the suspect, in separate locations, including Pretoria and Kempton Park, after they were allegedly found in possession of explicit child abuse images and videos.

ALSO READ: Five arrested for child pornography in Gauteng

The suspect’s previous suspended sentence expires on 15 March.

Arguing in court before Magistrate Veena Krishna, state prosecutor Takalani Mukhumo opposed bail.

The State alleged that he downloaded and uploaded images of child pornography via the internet.

According to the investigating officer, who opposed bail, he was earlier convicted of luring five complainants, who were aged 15 at the time, through a gaming platform on the internet.

He pleaded guilty and was convicted of statutory sexual assault of minors in March 2015. He was handed a wholly suspended sentence of five years. He was also ordered to pay the five complainants R10,000 each and his name was added to the National Register for Sex Offenders.

While his lawyer, Crystal Keevy, argued that he be released on bail because it was in the interest of justice, Magistrate Krishna disagreed in her judgment. Krishna argued that the allegations against him were serious, especially because of his previous conviction.

Keevy argued that in his previous conviction his complainants all consented to acts of a sexual nature. She said that is why he was convicted of statutory sexual assault.

She also said that the current allegations were not violent because it involved no physical person.

“The defence also argued that one needs to bear in mind that the applicant did not have access to any children. I do not agree with that. Whilst the requisition of child pornography does not entail direct contact, it does involve the exploitation of minor children,” Krishna said in her ruling.

Krishna said that the suspect faced a serious charge just five years after his conviction on similar charges. She said it was therefore likely that the accused could be a danger to children.

“The court is of the view that would provide an incentive for the applicant not to stand trial. Further, the court is of the view, given the history in this case, that the applicant, if he were released on bail, would endanger the safety of the public.

“It is not in the interest of justice to grant this application,” Krishna ruled.

Women And Men Against Child Abuse executive director Miranda Jordan, who was also in court, welcomed developments on Tuesday, saying it was important to note that the magistrate had taken his previous conviction into consideration.

She said the organisation was happy the magistrate took into account the interest of vulnerable children who use the internet.

“The magistrate has shown the accused that he does have an appetite for younger girls. The fact that he [allegedly] was looking at pornography not of adults but children, again shows that the risk of re-offending is far too high for magistrates to take a risk,” Jordan said.

The matter was postponed to 12 March.

For more news your way, download The Citizen’s app for iOS and Android.