News24

Pretoria child porn accused get bail

2011-11-17 21:31

Pretoria - Eight members of a Pretoria family who face a string of charges ranging from sexually assaulting children to making child pornography have been granted bail.

They launched an appeal in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria after a Pretoria North magistrate refused them bail almost a year ago.

Judge Francis Legodi granted them R15 000 bail each on Thursday.

They have to report to the Hercules police station twice a day and may not leave the Pretoria North district without the investigating officer's permission.

They may also not contact or communicate with any of the State witnesses, including the six young children who were removed from their care and placed in safe custody last year.

The 58-year-old grandfather, allegedly one of the main players in a child pornography syndicate, earlier withdrew his bail bid and would remain in custody.

The four couples and the unmarried son of one of the couples were to go on trial in the Pretoria North Regional Court early in December on over a hundred charges under the Sexual Offences Act.

The charges include raping and sexually assaulting minor children, sexually grooming children, exposing children to pornography and benefiting from child pornography.

The State opposed bail, saying the accused were likely to evade their trial. Because there was a strong case against them, they might interfere with State witnesses and might commit crimes again, the State argued.

Legodi said the State did not seriously seek to argue that the accused were a flight risk. Most of them had never been outside the country and they did not have passports.

None of them had previous convictions or other pending cases against them and the police knew where they lived.

It appeared that the State intended to rely on the evidence of very young children at the trial, which suggested that it was not in for a very easy ride.

If the children's evidence collapsed, the State would be bound to rely on circumstantial evidence based on expert witnesses.

This might not be an easy mountain to climb, the judge said.

"I am satisfied that the applicants... succeeded in showing that they are not a flight risk," the judge said.

"Other than the offences they are presently facing they had been law abiding citizens and thus dispelling the idea of reoffending (and) that their incarceration would deprive them of earning a living."

Comments
  • Silvana - 2011-11-18 06:06

    Right! Let them out on bail. Why should they suffer? It's only children involved. Our legal system SUCKSSSSSS!

      Hunter - 2011-11-18 06:30

      I agree. "...deprive them of earning a living." They are accused of benefitting from production of child pornography as part of earning a living before their arrest! Is this judge for real? Just becuase they were not caught before and therefore show no previous offenses, does not mean they will not do these things again with other children. Also commenting on the state's probable reliance on young children as witnesses making their case difficult to prove, should not effect whether the accused should stay out of our civil society.

  • Pur - 2011-11-18 08:06

    Clearly the learned Judge does not think that the State has a simple "open and shut" case against the accused, and also recognises that they are unlikely to run away. So why should they sit in jail for perhaps another year or two while the prosecution fumbles around building its case? The big problem is that people are arrested on suspicion and then sit in jail while the prosecution looks for evidence and builds a case. Rather collect the evidence and ensure there is a strong case THEN arrest the perps and get them into court swiftly.

      Hunter - 2011-11-18 08:32

      @ Pur and in the meantime the children should continue to be abused!

      procold2 - 2011-11-18 11:38

      @ pur,i agree with you that the system has flaws but i class this as a serios crime on par with rape,these people should be locked up and if found guilty the same sentences as rape and other violent crime should apply, let the petty criminals out on bail if the jails are full.

  • Carla - 2011-11-18 11:09

    i think the state must have pictures of these sick people put up everywhere. Their identity must be exposed!

  • procold2 - 2011-11-18 11:30

    sies to the justice system

      Bonny - 2011-11-18 14:55

      If like me, you are very concerned about this ridiculous Justice System we have, please i am begging you as a person with a huge concern for this world and the people in it, show your support. It will take 2min of your time to sign this petition and help fight for justice. http://www.change.org/petitions/the-south-african-justice-system-to-sentence-rapists-to-50years-to-life-imprisonment-no-less?share_id=sLikJaJwOW&pe=ws

  • Nikki Bodenstein - 2011-11-18 20:42

    Yes let them out so the public can sort them out!

  • Michael - 2011-11-23 14:44

    Why more than a year to bring what should have been an open and closed case to justice. The longer one waits the more difficult it becomes for those giving evidence.

  • etienne.human - 2012-01-07 02:16

    Easy peeps. This is an emotional case but fact remains, they have not been found guilty yet, in fact they have not even been tried yet. So no posters can be put up yet. The prosecution and state failed these children already ... they are fumbling.

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