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No bail for ‘child predator’ | #childpredator | #kidsaftey | #childsaftey



The accused, from Mitchells Plain, was arrested on Friday 19 January after police received a tip-off from the United States Homeland Security about him being part of an international syndicate that groomed, manufactured, and distributed child pornography.

The Mitchells Plain Magistrates Court declined to grant a 32-year-old accused bail after the court found that his own two minor children needed to be protected against him as he is charged with child grooming, illegal possession of child pornography, illegal distribution of child pornography and unlawful manufacture of child pornography.

The accused, from Mitchells Plain, was arrested on Friday 19 January after police received a tip-off from the United States Homeland Security about him being part of an international syndicate that groomed, manufactured, and distributed child pornography. He was identified as a user of a social media platform in which he accessed CSAM images, whereby he accumulated his child pornography collection. Preliminary forensic investigation indicates he amassed a collection of 115 000 images and 20 000 videos of child pornography between 12 April 2021 and 19 January 2024. There were over 300 000 chat groups on the social media group of which 35 large groups were actively manufacturing and distributing child pornography. Out of the operation, 27 targets in the country were identified and four targets in the Western Cape were all arrested and have appeared in courts.

‘Highly deceptive’

In his Schedule 6 bail application, where he was expected to show that there were exceptional circumstances which justified his release on bail and that it was in the interest of justice to be released on bail, he told the court that he was a breadwinner who supported his wife, two minor children, his father and sister. He was in good health, but it is likely to deteriorate as prison conditions at Pollsmoor Prison were filthy and overcrowded with poor ventilation. He feared losing his employment if his incarceration continued.Senior State Adv Evadne Kortje told the court that preliminary forensic analysis revealed that the accused transformed from an ardent child pornography collector to a child pornography creator. He used the highly deceptive and skilled method of “phishing” to select and recruit his unsuspecting minor victims.

Two identified minors

Adv Kortje called investigating officers, Capt Shaun van der Heever and a WO Barnard, who testified that so far, they have identified two minor victims aged 12 and 14 years from the Goodwood and Milnerton area. Two other victims have not been identified yet. The court heard that the accused befriended the minors by sending them a picture of someone else, the same age as his victims and pretended it was him.He enquired about their addresses, the layout of their homes, the security systems at their homes, their family members, and whether they had younger siblings and then requested them to send him pictures and videos of their private parts. They would send those to “their friend” and as soon as he sensed that something was wrong, he would demand, blackmail them, and threaten to post the images and videos on social media. Fearing what their families and friends would say when they saw the images and videos, they would be forced to comply with his demands. The victims were so convinced by his lies to an extent they felt they were in a relationship with him. He was their boyfriend.

The abuse of the internet

Adv Kortje argued that the accused is charged with offences relating to gender-based violence. “The abuse of the internet to exploit the most vulnerable of society cannot be understated. He benefitted, participated in, and contributed to the mass sexual exploitation of children around the world. The humiliation, abuse of trust and violation of the young innocent victims is shocking, immoral, and intolerable. Due to the nature of his offences, more victims and witnesses will be identified after the full forensic analysis of the evidence from the applicant’s cellphone.”

In her judgment, Magistrate ZT Varoyi said the victims were wondering what had happened to their boyfriend as he had not communicated with them. “They do not know him, but he knows them, their families, their homes, and the security at their homes. The investigation is incomplete as both identified victims’ statements are outstanding. They need to be taken for counselling before being informed of what has happened. Their families also do not know what has happened to their children.

’Groom and manipulate’

He has managed to groom and manipulate them to the point where they must comply with his demands. Not only other people’s children must be protected, but his children also need to be protected against him. 

“His release will send a sense of shock and jeopardise and undermine the criminal justice system, put the victims’ lives in danger, the public will lose trust in the justice system, he has failed to show exceptional circumstances existed which justify his release on bail and that it was in the interest of justice for him to be released on bail.” His case was postponed to 27 June 2024 for further investigation.



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