‘Special treatment’ for porn principal

2013-09-19 17:08

Police and prosecutors scheduled the court appearance of a former private school headmaster accused of the possession of child pornography outside normal working hours today in what appears to be special treatment.

The headmaster and award-winning author, who cannot be named because he has not pleaded as yet, appeared very early in the White River Magistrates’ Court in Mpumalanga today after special arrangements were made.

Senior public prosecutor Karen Mortlock said there was “no prescript” that said all cases had to start at 9 o’clock in the morning.

“I called the case early because I and the investigating officer were available. The magistrate had also agreed to preside over it. It was not special treatment,” Mortlock said.

“I had to be in my office after the case and the police had to go and investigate,” she added.

Journalists who arrived at the court as early as 8 o’clock said the case had already been heard by then.

National police spokesperson Lieutenant General Solomon Makgale promised to look into emailed questions, but did not respond by the time of publication.

The accused resigned as principal of the school last month and put his single-storey house in White River up for sale following his arrest. He has since relocated to Pretoria.

Police had also arrested five others suspected of being part of an international child porn syndicate in Lichtenburg, Bloemfontein, Douglasdale, Florida and Potchefstroom.

They were identified as a teacher, retired school principal, lawyer, dermatologist and businessman.

At that time, Makgale said police had identified 50 suspects after seizing 672 DVDs, 22 memory sticks, eight laptops, two tablets, 39 external hard drives and 25 books containing child pornography.

The headmaster’s biography says he is passionate about water polo and rugby. He has coached water polo at national level.

He is out on R1 000 bail and the case will resume on November 22 2013.

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