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Music teacher in court for child porn

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Roelof du Toit appeared in court on charges of possessing, manufacturing and distributing child pornography. Photo: Danie van der Lith

Kimberley - A Barkley West music teacher, who was found living with a 12-year-old street child in his Kimberley home, was denied bail when he appeared in court on several charges of possessing, manufacturing and distributing child pornography as well as sexually assaulting children.

Roelof du Toit, 37, was arrested after an American police agent, posing as a 15-year-old boy, started corresponding with him via e-mail.

He appeared in the Barkly West Magistrate’s Court on Friday.

The bail hearing attracted media interest and was also attended by officials from the American Embassy and the police’s child pornography and serial rape unit from Gauteng.

Du Toit, wearing glasses and a ponytail, appeared arrogant as he consulted with his lawyer, Pierre Visagie from Legal Aid South Africa, before the bail hearing got under way.

The State prosecutor, Tshepo Sebego, pointed out that the State was opposing bail.

In an affidavit read out in the court, Du Toit indicated that he planned to plead not guilty.

Sergeant Delene Grobler from the police’s family violence, sexual offences and child protection unit in Gauteng, who is the investigating officer, said Du Toit’s e-mail address was obtained after pornographic material was allegedly sent from his address to a network of more than 40 people involved in child pornography in America.

“The police agent, posing as a 15-year-old boy, starting corresponding with him via e-mail.

“In the e-mails to the agent, Du Toit allegedly said he received 40 pornographic e-mails every day while he also sent out around 40 e-mails.”

He also apparently wrote that he did not feel guilty about his actions with children and did not know why children should be withheld.

Grobler added that during Du Toit’s arrest last week, a 12-year-old boy was found living with him at his New Park home. Pictures of the boy had allegedly been distributed by Du Toit.

“The boy is now at a place of safety. Du Toit also told the police about another 10-year-old boy who was apparently also photographed and molested by him.”

Both are street children and are now living at a place of safety.

Some of the photographs were apparently taken at Du Toit’s family home in Vaal Gamagara near Barkly West.

In supporting the State’s opposition to the granting of bail, Grobler pointed out that Du Toit would have access to the online international network distribution on the secure site because he had refused to give the police his passwords.

She argued that there was a likelihood that he would tamper with the images and videos on the site because even though the State had seized his computer, this could still be accessed via cellphone.

“He is a flight risk and even though he does not have a passport, he can obtain one in a few days.

“We cannot rule out the possibility that should he be released on bail he will be able to go wherever he likes and there is a chance that he can influence the witnesses because he knows were they live and attend school.”

Sebego pointed out that the charges against Du Toit were serious and he could not be monitored every day to ensure that he did not access the site and warn others that it was under investigation.

He also stated that there was a likelihood that Du Toit would continue with his paedophile tendencies.

Arguing in his defence, Visagie, said this was just speculation and it could not be proven.

He added that the 12-year-old boy was living with Du Toit with his parents’ knowledge and because the boys had been removed to a place of safety, he would not be able to contact them.

Visagie further pointed out that Du Toit was no longer teaching music and was unemployed. As he did not have a passport, he could not be considered a flight risk and he could be monitored constantly by his mother, who could monitor even his cellphone usage.

He added that it was his submission that the State had a weak case against Du Toit.

Magistrate Albert Scorgie pointed out that the matter was a Schedule Six offence and denied bail.

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