Child porn suspect claims assault

2011-08-15 22:25

Durban - Former policeman Andre Stephen Botha, who allegedly distributed graphic sexual pictures of children aged between four and 10, appeared in the Durban Magistrate’s Court on Monday.

Wearing blue overall pants and a checked shirt and sporting tattoos, the stocky man sat nervously in the dock, peering over his glasses to read a newspaper that featured him on the front page.

The 38-year old who was arrested in Welkom where he works for a construction company, served as an officer at the Bellair police station in Hillary in 2003 and was the subject of a Hawks investigation for the past four months.

Investigating officer Jason Reddy of the Hawks' search-and-seizure unit told The Witness that Botha was found to be the source of 20 sexually explicit pictures of children being distributed via a chat room on the social network MXit.

"The man is linked to a larger child pornography syndicate operating in Nelspruit, Durban and Johannesburg and more arrests are imminent," said Reddy.

He said the children were from the Malvern and Queensburgh areas of Durban. Botha faces a possible sentence of 20 years' imprisonment.

Represented by advocate Rob Sichel, Botha was denied bail on the grounds that investigators require more information and the case was adjourned until Thursday in the Welkom Magistrate's Court.

'Assaulted'


Sichel put on record that Botha was assaulted by officers while in detention at Westville.

“My client has sustained injuries to his ribs, his eardrums are perforated and handcuffs lacerated his wrists. Members of the South African Police Service assaulted him,” he said.

A twenty-something student, who is apparently in a relationship with Botha, was his only supporter at the hearing and he periodically turned around to glance at her. Botha was permitted to communicate with her briefly after the court proceedings.

Speaking to Hawks investigators outside the courtroom, Sichel said Botha is being tried by the media and the court needs to protect him from sensationalism.

"My client needs to be granted bail so that he can pay maintenance for his two children.

"This is a conspiracy and there should have been enough time to lodge a bail application by now at least,” he retorted when officers told him to allow the courts do their work.


 

Read more on:    mxit  |  mbombela  |  durban  |  bloemfontein  |  social networks  |  pornography  |  child abuse
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