Durban - A Hillary man who downloaded approximately 19 000 images and 1 000 videos depicting child pornography was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment on Tuesday.
Gert Harmzen,55, was arrested by Bellair police and the Provincial Family Violence, Child Protection, Sexual Offences and Serial and Electronic Crime Investigation (SECI) unit in June last year, after receiving a tip-off.
The shocked police officers found 19 305 images and 933 videos containing images of child porn, as well as 203 incomplete downloaded images on a laptop, when they raided his home.
Harmzen was found guilty last month of being in possession of child pornography and contravening the Film and Publications Act.
Durban Regional Court Magistrate Melanie de Jager handed him a 15-year sentence with five years being suspended.
His name will be entered into the national register for sexual offences and national child protection register.
He was also deemed unfit to work with children.
According to his statement, read out to the court, Harmzen was raped and a victim of sexual abuse when he was five-years-old.
He asked himself why his parents had not found out what had happened to him and thought they were naive or not good parents. He then decided to find answers to the problems of his own childhood, and to find peace, by downloading images, he said.
According to social worker Nqobile Luthuli’s psychosocial report, Harmzen was the youngest of nine children, and despite his father’s death when he was 8, his family maintained a strong bond. He had no children.
His fiancée of 20 years and two other people interviewed described Harmzen as generous, affectionate, reliable and a religious individual. Harmzen, a supervisor before being retrenched in 2016, was godfather to his nephew’s daughter and many other children in the family.
Those interviewed were shaken by his misconduct and criminal acts.