Child-porn case postponed

The bail hearing of eight people arrested on child pornography charges was postponed in the Pretoria North Magistrate’s Court today.

Magistrate Pierre Wessels postponed the matter to Wednesday.

In statements read to the court all the accused denied any wrongdoing.

State prosecutor Tania Carstens said she would oppose bail. The ages of the accused ranged from 26 to 61. None of them had previous convictions.

In a statement read to the court one accused, a 36-year-old man, said his wife was not arrested and that “it would be impossible” for her not to know about the allegations against him.

Carstens said there were no special circumstances for granting bail to the group.

Their lawyers, Lara Cole and advocate Naas de Jager, initially wanted proceedings to be held in camera as it was a sensitive matter. Proceedings would not be held in camera, but Wessels ordered that nothing may be published which could identify the accused or their alleged victims.

The professions of the three women and five men range from pig farmer to housewife and car guard. They face charges of rape, indecent assault, sexual grooming of children and possession, manufacturing and distribution of child pornography.

A handful of people protested outside the court.

Court F was earlier packed to capacity with journalists and some family members who declined to speak about the case. A landlord to some of the people arrested said he had no inkling anything was amiss until the police arrived at his property, north of Pretoria, last Wednesday morning.

He said a man and his wife lived there with two children, one a 28-year-old mentally disabled man.

Those arrested included a grandfather (58), grandmother (57), their two sons from previous relationships, aged 34 and 36, the grandfather’s brother (61), and his wife (42), and their mentally-disabled son.

The 26-year-old wife of one of the sons was also arrested.

According to reports six children, from the age of four and older, were allegedly used in sex movies which were then distributed.

Social workers became suspicious after two foster children – who were removed from the families in March and October – started doing badly at school.?

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