Child porn case: defence demand videos and photos

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Copy of child porn trial INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS While lawyers confer, some of the accused in the Pretoria North child porn case wait in court for the case to begin. Photo: Etienne Creux

The lawyers of nine family members accused of running a child pornographic syndicate have told a Pretoria North magistrate it was vital they have access to video footage and photos in possession of the State.

A similar request was brought before the court in March.

State prosecutor Tania Carstens at the time told the defence she would make the footage available to them, but would not provide them with copies of the material.

The accused – who are all out on bail of R15 000 each, except for the grandfather – face 23 preliminary charges. These include rape, compelled rape, grooming, and using children to produce child pornography.

The family members were arrested on a smallholding near Hammanskraal in December 2010.

Legal Aid lawyer Sunethe Potgieter told the court her clients had the right to a fair trial and that without proper access to the material she would not be able to prepare adequately for trial.

She presented the court with several cases to strengthen her argument.

Defence lawyer JJ van Zyl said since the last request for the material, they have had no communication from the State.

He stressed that it was inconvenient to view the material at a police station and it would cause an unnecessary delay in the case which has already been delayed.

“It is a very impractical method of disclosure,” he said.

Van Zyl further argued that there was no proof before the court that the material was of a pornographic nature.

“Who is the State to decide who should have access to the material,” he asked.

Carstens hit back by saying she had indeed replied to the request, but stood by her previous submission.

“I will make the material available when and where it suits the defence, but I will not provide them with copies,” she said.

“It is the State’s responsibility to protect the children. The more copies there are the bigger the chance of some ending up in the wrong hands,” she said.

Magistrate Pieter Nel said he would make a ruling on July 31.

Potgieter requested the court to reduce the bail amount of the grandfather from R20 000 to R15 000. The request was granted.

Pretoria News


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