Bluff man Wayne Parkes has pleaded not guilty to two counts of rape and more than 3000 counts relating to child pornography.
Durban - A Bluff man has pleaded not guilty to two counts of rape and more than 3000 counts relating to child pornography.
 
Wayne Parkes’ trial got under way in the Durban Regional Court on Wednesday.
 
One of three men arrested last November for their alleged involvement in a child pornography ring, Parkes is facing two counts of raping a minor, 1517 counts of the creation of child pornography and 1770 counts of the possession of child pornography.
 
In a statement read into the record on Wednesday, Parkes said he was challenging the admissibility of evidence against him, resulting from the search and seizure of two cellphones and a sim card.
 
He said this was carried out without a search warrant or his permission.
 
His trial has started with a trial-within-a-trial, to establish the admissibility of that evidence.
 
Public prosecutor Jerome Gnanapragas called head of the SAPS’s serial and electronic crimes investigation section of the family violence, child protection, and sexual offences unit in Gauteng - Lieutenant Colonel Heila Niemand - as his first witness.
 
She was part of the team that arrested Parkes, after swooping on his two co-accused.
 
They were acting on information received from an undercover agent, via the US’ Homeland Security Department.
 
Niemand’s evidence was that while she and her team did not have a search warrant for Parkes’s home that day, he told them “he had nothing to hide” and co-operated fully.
 
She said he handed over his cellphones willingly and even pointed out the house in which the child he stands accused of raping, lived.
 
Asked if she would have proceeded with a search had Parkes objected, Niemand said yes.
 
“We had received information that he was in possession of child pornography … It was important to know if there was a child that needed rescuing …  It was after hours and I would not have been able to get a search warrant,” she said.
 
She also said if she had opted to leave and return the following day, crucial evidence would “definitely” have been deleted off the cellphones.
 
Cross-examination is expected to take place on Thursday.
 
The cases against Parkes’ co-accused, who cannot be named as they have not yet pleaded, are expected to be heard next year. They are being heard separately from Parkes’.
 
 
The Mercury