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Cape Town -
A man charged with 36 crimes against children would remain in police custody after his appeal against a bail decision was dismissed in the Western Cape High Court on Thursday.
Judge John Hlophe upheld the decision by the George Magistrate's Court to deny bail for 59-year-old Knysna estate agent Adrian Wilson-Forbes.
The charges against him include child trafficking, sexual assault and rape.
Hlophe said it was not in the interests of society to release the accused on bail.
“He's a monster. He's a sex predator and society doesn't need someone like this. I have no sympathy,” he said.
The judge condemned pornographic images which were found on a disk and entered as evidence.
“These pictures are quite shocking... it's a disgrace actually.”
The State was not called to give reasons for opposing bail.
Hlophe said the State's case was very strong and the accused could face a life sentence if convicted.
William King, for the defence, argued that the court had already found his client guilty.
“Before everything is dealt with, people jump to conclusions. What I'm trying to stress is that it's early days,” he said.
“If this is the paedophile the State alleges he is, you would expect this to be a case where people jumped out the woodwork and said 'this also happened to me'.”
In his heads of argument, the lawyer said his client emphatically denied guilt, had no previous convictions, was old and had lived a “totally normal, middle class life” prior to his arrest in May this year.
King argued that this case would score five or six out of 10 on a scale of seriousness.
“In the greater scheme of things, there are far worse crimes where the accused are let out on bail.”
The court heard that Wilson-Forbes would not commit further crimes, interfere with witnesses or flee the country if released.
He stands accused of sexually assaulting an 11-year-old boy in 2001 and using the boy in the last 10 years to source young girls between eight and nine years old in Parkdene, George.
These girls were allegedly sexually molested, raped and photographed while engaging in sexual acts with him and then paid money.
A trial date has not yet been set.
The National Prosecuting Authority said on Thursday it was happy with the ruling, calling it a win in the fight against child exploitation.
Western Cape NPA spokesman Eric Ntabazalila said it was the first step towards ensuring victims received justice.
He said one person had already been entered into a witness protection programme and there was a chance the accused could threaten and interfere with other witnesses if let out on bail. - Sapa