A 37-year-old Plettenberg Bay computer engineer accused of being part of an international baby pornography network left the local magistrate's court yesterday after the matter was postponed to May 12 when it will be transferred to a higher court. PHOTOGRAPH: Yolande Stander

Plettenberg Bay - Scores of residents and children’s rights activists chanted “You pig!” as the Plettenberg Bay man allegedly linked to an international baby pornography network left the local magistrate’s court on Wednesday.

The 37-year-old computer engineer, dressed in a faded black shirt with unkempt hair, took his place in the dock for the first time since he was released on bail following his arrest on January 13.

The man, who cannot be identified until he has pleaded, was apprehended when Belgian and South African police swooped on his seaside residence after finding his internet address on an obscure online cyber meeting space for alleged paedophiles with fetishes for the sexual abuse of babies in nappies.

Police seized his laptop and found sections of files allegedly containing images and videos of violent sexual assaults as well as internet addresses of more than 300 alleged paedophiles.

He was released on R10 000 bail and the matter postponed until Wednesday for further investigation. On Wednesday, the matter was, however, postponed again until May 12 to establish a date for the case to be transferred to a higher court. His bail was extended.

As the accused left the court he was met by residents who called him a “pig” and a “child abuser” as he tried to make his way to his lawyer Carl Jeppe’s vehicle.

A group of concerned residents as well as several high-profile members of Women and Men Against Child Abuse (WMACA) staged a protest outside the court before and after proceedings on Wednesday to highlight the horrors of child pornography. Most of them wore black and held posters with slogans including, “No bail, max jail”, and, “Every image is a crime scene”.

“We are satisfied that the matter will be heard in a higher court, and part of the reason we are here today is to ensure that these cases go to the highest court possible. We decided to join residents today following several arrests of alleged paedophiles across South Africa over recent months. We want to highlight the seriousness of these crimes as they involve the rape, torture and murder of children for sexual gratification,” WMACA director Miranda Friedmann said.

The arrest of the Plett suspect led to several other arrests, including a Grahamstown businessman on March 11, a Port Elizabeth couple on March 17 and a 39-year-old Midrand man on March 19. The Midrand man also appeared in court on Wednesday and the matter was postponed to July 17.

Rhoda Hendricks, a senior social worker at the Masizame Child and Youth Care Centre said perpetrators were often trusted individuals within the family network.

The organisation’s director Brenda Wall demanded that courts uphold the constitution. “We call upon the judicial system to uphold Section 28 which says that every child has the right to be protected from maltreatment, abuse, neglect or degradation. We are adamant that no suspected paedophiles should be granted bail. What assurances do we have that perpetrators will not carry out further abuse?” Wall said.

Garden Route Media