File picture: Independent Media
Durban -  A forensic specialist from the SAPS’ Technological Investigation Support Centre was the first witness called to testify against Darren Goddard, as the former school counsellor’s rape, sexual assault and child pornography trial got under way in the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Wednesday.

Aside from facing seven counts of raping young boys and six counts of sexually assaulting them, Goddard stands accused of accessing and being in possession almost 4 000 pieces of child pornography.

He has pleaded not guilty to all charges and maintains that he is “unable to have a fair trial”.

“The police have infringed my right to professional legal privilege between client and attorney by intercepting and seizing confidential information meant for transmission to my attorney,” he said in his plea statement.

This issue is set down to be argued next week.

Meanwhile yesterday’s witness was expected to give evidence about the child pornography-related charges.

But Judge Kate Pillay cleared the courtroom before he took the stand.

State advocate Frank van Heerden had earlier said the witness was going to deal with “certain reports”.

“And when he deals with these reports, it must be in camera,” van Heerden had told the court. “He’s going to display certain images.”

Van Heerden had said while the State’s intention was not for the court to view the images, he needed to lead evidence in respect of the witness’s reports.

“And we need to make reference to certain images … There are five monitors that he’s going to have to set up,” Van Heerden had added.

The reports, Van Heerden had explained, related to “creation dates, viewing, access dates and modified dates” and contained “thousands of images of child pornography”.

The State alleges that Goddard, 32, preyed on children he was counselling “for behavioural and educational difficulties”.

“The procedure was for (Goddard) to proceed to the classes of the complainants, fetch them and take them to his office,” the indictment reads.

In terms of the child pornography-related charges, the State alleges that after his arrest, Goddard asked someone he knew to remove electronic storage devices from his house and destroy them.

But its alleged that these devices were handed over to Goddard’s then attorneys and they - along with a laptop Goddard had given the woman several years earlier - eventually landed up with police, who discovered a total of 3 662 images of child pornography thereon.

Goddard, in his plea statement, has denied that he ever accessed or was in possession of child pornography.

He conceded that the devices in question contained images of child pornography but said the first he knew of these was after his then attorney advised him they had been handed over to him.

“And I instructed him to hand them over to police if they required them,” Goddard said. “I further deny I ever gave (the woman) any instructions to remove these devices from my place of residence and to destroy them”.

The trial continues.

The Mercury