Accused family say they know nothing about child porn charges

2010-12-07 00:00

PRETORIA — All eight members of one family arrested on Thursday for rape, sexual assault and the production of child pornography, among other alleged offences, intend pleading not guilty to all the charges.

This was indicated by advocate Naas de Jager, who represents six of the accused, and Lara Cole, an attorney for the other two, in the Pretoria North Magistrate’s Court during a bail application by the eight yesterday.

The eight were arrested by the child pornography unit of the police after an investigation of complaints that they were producing and distributing child pornography. They are also charged with sexually assaulting and raping children.

Four children aged between four and 13 were removed from the care of the accused during the raid.

According to reports, one of the accused, the grandfather (58) of the children, and his brother (61) are pig farmers in the north of Pretoria and own pigs worth R80 000 and R45 000 respectively. Their wives, who have also been charged, are “home-makers” and are not employed.

According to the statements of the eight accused, aged 26 to 61, they know nothing about any of the allegations against them.

“I was maliciously arrested because we submitted an application to the high court to get our foster children back who had been taken away from us,” the grandfather indicated in his statement.

In his statement he refers to a girl aged eight and a boy of six who were removed from his and his wife’s care in June.

“I know nothing. I have done nothing … I am innocent,” reads the statement of a 28-year-old accused.

“There is no relevant evidence to link me to the offence,” argues a 26-year-old accused.

Another accused (36) said his small son threatened to commit suicide if he is not released.

De Jager and Cole requested that the case be heard in camera because there are children involved.

“This is a high-profile case. The charges are of a sexual nature and it is, therefore, also a sensitive case,” said Cole.

Magistrate Pierre Wessels said the media are allowed to attend the hearing provided that everyone knows they may not identify the accused by naming them or publishing photos of them.

“As soon as the media’s presence in court causes problems the case will be heard in camera,” Wessels said.

The bail application will be continued tomorrow.

National Prosecution Authority spokesperson Advocate Mthunzi C. Mhaga said after the court proceedings that the state is drawing up a statement opposing bail.

“It is feared that the accused will interfere with the investigation if they are released on bail.

“Given the facts, the state has a strong case against the accused,” he said.

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