Child-porn accused takes bail fight to high court

2011-02-07 10:50

A woman facing child pornography-related charges will approach the high court to contest a magistrate’s decision not to recuse himself from her bail application, the Pretoria North Magistrate’s Court heard today.

Chris Greyvenstein, who represents the 31-year-old woman, submitted last week her bail application should be heard by another magistrate. He argued she would not receive a fair hearing because Magistrate Pierre Wessels had already denied her eight co-accused bail.

Today Wessels adjourned proceedings to February 23 for further investigations and to allow Greyvenstein to lodge the urgent review with the High Court in Pretoria.

Wessels refused the application last week, finding it would not have been made had the others been granted bail. He said then that, in his 20 years of hearing bail applications, he had found it was only when bail was denied that a co-accused demanded another magistrate.

The woman, believed to be the wife of accused number eight, was arrested in January near Hammanskraal.

The group face charges of rape, indecent assault, sexual grooming of children and possession, manufacturing and distribution of child pornography.

The eight arrested last year include a grandfather (58), grandmother (57), their two sons from previous relationships, aged 34 and 36, the grandfather’s brother (61) and his wife (42), and their son, who is reportedly mentally disabled. The 26-year-old wife of one of the sons was also arrested.

Six children, aged four and older, were allegedly used in sex movies which were then distributed. Four other children were removed from the care of the accused and sent for psychological and medical tests.

During the bail applications in January, the court heard that the State was investigating the possibility of a connection with a child pornography syndicate.

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