Cops track MXit porn ring

2011-08-21 15:30
Johannesburg - The probe into the former ­policeman and father of two who is accused of possessing and distributing child pornography on MXit is widening as ­investigators track possible collaborators.

The man was arrested earlier this month following an investigation into the alleged network, which used a channel on the mobile social network to ­distribute material.

Prosecutor Charmaine Labuschagne said four cellphones and a laptop had been taken from the ­accused.

He had also given names, online profiles and numbers for contacts, which had been sent to police technical services.

Labuschagne said images the investigators had extracted were “devastating” and they were examining conversations on MXit.

One such conversation ­involved the head of a crèche, and in it a woman ­allegedly ­offered money for pictures of her own children and children in her care.

Jurisdiction

Attorney Jacques Botha, appearing for the accused, said the investigation was “in its infancy” and there were ­issues such as jurisdiction in cases that involved online material that required clarity before bail could be revisited.

“If material is allegedly ­obtained over cellphone it is complicated to determine where jurisdiction is,” Botha said.

When the accused appeared in the Durban Magistrate's Court last week his advocate put it on ­record that the accused had been assaulted by officers while in detention and sustained injuries to his ribs; had his eardrums perforated and his wrists lacerated by handcuffs.

Botha said he had asked for a doctor but found police “not only unhelpful but lethargic in the extreme”.

Labuschagne said the accused was taken to a private ­doctor on Thursday and ­appeared to have an ear ­infection.

MXit spokesperson Sandra Sampayo said they had been in contact with investigators and were working with the ­police on the matter.

The accused was remanded in custody on Thursday ­without bail after the Welkom Sexual Offences Court postponed the case to September 7.

The case was moved from Durban to Welkom, where the 38-year-old accused works for a construction company.

The Film and Publication Board sent observers to the Welkom hearing.
Read more on:    mxit  |  fpb  |  bloemfontein  |  durban  |  pornography
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