Child Porn: Longest sentence in SA for ex-cop

2012-11-29 00:00

WELKOM — The longest sentence ever imposed for the possession of child pornography in South Africa saw a former policeman get a 45- year term yesterday.

André Botha will serve an effective 15 years.

Welkom magistrate Tiloshni Ramdeyal found no mitigating circumstances.

Most of the trial was conducted behind closed doors. Shocking photographs of naked children performing sex acts formed part of the evidence. Prosecutor Charmaine Labuschagne said it is a great relief that the trial is over. “It was very traumatic. I was physically sick every day I worked on this case. I lived this case for more than a year.”

She called Botha’s crimes “the heart of darkness”.

The maximum sentence for the manufacture, distribution and possession of child pornography was raised from five to 30 years in 2004, with a maximum of 10 years per charge.

The crimes were committed in Bloemfontein, Welkom, Johannesburg, Pretoria, Bronkhorstspruit and Durban.

The cases were centralised in Welkom so that Labuschagne, who has achieved noted success in prosecuting sexual offences, could take charge. After Botha was arrested, explicit visuals were seized, along with cellphone conversations and chats on Mixit, BBM and Skype. Bank statements showed he spent up to R8 000 a month on porn and offered a pre-primary teacher R1 000 for naked pictures of children.

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