Repeat child porn offender sent to jail — with psychiatric care

2012-02-06 00:00

A REPEAT child pornography offender has been given a second chance — of sorts.

Although the Port Shepstone Regional Court sentenced Brett Allen Steven (39) on Friday to five years behind bars, magistrate Johan Bester ordered he receive psychiatric help while in prison.

His stay at the Westville Correctional Services Centre would be “in a cell where you are not exposed to bad practices”, Bester told him.

If he shared a cell this would only make things worse when he was released back into society, said Bester. Steven could possibly qualify for release on parole after psychiatric assessment, pending a decision by the Correctional Services parole board.

Once free again, he would also be allowed to own a firearm.

The magistrate took into account that Steven had admitted to wrongdoing. He pleaded guilty to 673 counts of child pornography, committed in December 2010.

“I could tell that the children looked under the age of 18,” he said during his trial.

Steven’s downloading of child pornography and videos from the Internet wasn’t his first brush with the law regarding inappropriate actions to do with children.

He had once before been convicted of child pornography, as well as sexual assault.

“You may think that this sentence is severe, but the court has to take into account that you have a previous conviction,” Bester said.

Sagree Naicker, the social work manager at Port Shepstone Child Welfare, said she felt the sentence was too light.

“It is a step in the right direction and the organisation is very pleased that the accused was sentenced. However we expected a hefty sentence,” she said.

Naicker said two-thirds of the 18 million children in South Africa lived in poverty and were affected by various aspects of abuse.

“Child porn is one of these aspects. The police, court, child welfare and the community must work together to fight it,” she said.

Steven was arrested on July 20 last year at the Port Shepstone Caravan Park.

He was granted bail, which was withdrawn after he had failed to appear in court the following week.

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