Plett computer engineer handed 15 year sentence for child porn

Cape Town - A Plettenberg Bay computer engineer was on Tuesday handed a 15 year jail sentence after being convicted on 18 644 counts of possession of child pornography.

William Beale, 39, was sentenced in the Thembalethu Regional Court after pleading guilty following his arrest for being part of an international syndicate.

He was found in possession of thousands of images, as well as dagga.

Prosecutor Gerda Marx in a statement described the accused as a "paedophile" with a disorder that cannot be treated.

She said Beale had acquired the necessary software in order to obtain online anonymity and resist censorship. He was thus evading justice by keeping his identity a secret, Marx explained.

'Rape, abuse and murder'

Beale, she said, had "created and contributed to a market where rape, abuse and even murder of children are the order of the day".

"Without a market these children will not be subjected to the abuse and suffering they had to endure in order for Beale to satisfy his urges."

She considered 15 years behind bars "a good sentence".

"Possession of child pornography images is very serious in that it creates the market for the abuse of children. [It] is not a victimless offence," she said.

Taking a stand against child abuse

"The abuse of a child is relived with every single image being viewed, distributed or possessed. We need to stand firm against any form of abuse against children."

Beale, who was arrested in January 2015, initially faced 107 893 charges.

He pleaded guilty and the State withdrew the remaining charges.

Women And Men Against Child Abuse, which said it had been monitoring the case since its first day, said even with 20 years of experience in the child abuse service and advocacy spheres, it was "shocked to our core" by some of the "appalling details of the crimes that were captured in these images – babies subjected to spine-chilling torture, bondage and rape".

The organisation’s director Miranda Jordan-Friedmann in a statement said: "The 900+ children in these images were denied [the] most basic of rights, and today (Tuesday) Magistrate Eugenia Jacobs acknowledged that – it is a good day for justice and speaks volumes that she handed down the heaviest sentence in SA’s history for possessing child pornography."

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