Philani Nombembe and Janine Oelofse
WESTERN Cape Judge-President John Hlophe slammed an alleged child sex fiend as a "monster” when he dismissed an appeal for the man’s bail application yesterday.
The man, who is well-known in Knysna yachting circles, is facing 36 charges of sexual offences involving young children, including the creation of child pornography.
In upholding the George Magistrate’s Court decision to deny the 59-year-old Knysna estate agent bail, Hlophe said: "How can a man with such shocking pictures of child pornography be innocent.
"Is there an innocent man who would have such pictures? It’s a disgrace. The state has got a very strong case and the accused is a candidate for a life sentence when convicted.
"This man is a monster, he is a sex pervert. I have no sympathy for him. Bail appeal is dismissed,” Judge Hlophe said.
The charges the Zimbabwe-born man faces include child trafficking, sexual assault and rape, after allegedly sexually assaulting an 11-year-old boy in 2001, and then recruiting the boy to find girls between eight and nine years old, whom he then allegedly sexually molested, raped and took pictures of while engaging in sexual acts with them.
This allegedly went on for 10 years, until the boy – now an adult – reported him to the police and gave them a memory card of one of the retired technician’s digital cameras allegedly containing pornographic images.
The man was arrested at his Welbedacht Estate home in Knysna on May 5. He has not pleaded yet.
The National Prosecuting Authority said it was happy with the ruling.
"We believe this is the first step towards ensuring justice for the victims,” NPA spokesman Eric Ntabazalila said.
The court found the man was a flight risk and could possibly interfere with witnesses.
"The interests of justice will not be served if he is released on bail as his actions indicated planning, deceit and exploitation of the most vulnerable, innocent, defenceless and disadvantaged in our society – the children,” the NPA said in opposing his appeal against magistrate Phumela Yono’s ruling in June to hold him in custody.
In a supporting affidavit, investigating officer Martin Borg revealed shocking details of the man’s alleged crimes and said the state would offer photographic evidence of the man allegedly engaging in sex acts with an eight-year-old girl in May this year.
Borg said when the police arrested the man, he was wearing a necklace similar to the one he wore in the pictures. Police had also seized a shirt, belt, sports cap, shoes, sunglasses and the man’s car which were "clearly visible from the photographs of the crime scene”.
Some of the offences allegedly took place in the car.
"The accused is a resident of Knysna and came to the jurisdiction of this court to prey on defenceless, innocent and disadvantaged children,” Borg said.
He said the man was not a South African-born citizen and was a flight risk. "As is common knowledge, the border between South Africa and Zimbabwe is particularly very leaky.”