The 38-year-old Plettenberg Bay-based computer engineer was arrested in January last year after international police swooped on his seaside home. Photo: Yolande Stander
The 38-year-old Plettenberg Bay-based computer engineer was arrested in January last year after international police swooped on his seaside home. Photo: Yolande Stander

Plett baby porn case could be struck off the roll

By African News Agency Time of article published Oct 17, 2016

Share this article:

Plettenberg Bay - The case against a man, set to face more than 179 000 charges relating to child pornography, could be struck off the roll following a charge sheet bungle in the Knysna Regional Court on Monday.

The 38-year-old Plettenberg Bay-based computer engineer was arrested in January last year after international police swooped on his seaside home where they allegedly found sections of files containing thousands of images and videos of child pornography as well as internet addresses of more than 300 other alleged paedophiles.

His arrest was part of Operation Cloud 9 - cooperation between South African and Belgium police aimed at cracking down on an international child pornography network which included the distribution of thousands of images and video clips of babies being raped and tortured.

On Monday, Carl Jeppe, for the computer engineer who cannot be named until he has pleaded, asked for the matter to be struck off the roll.

Prosecutor Chamelle Bastian indicated that she had received instruction from the office of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) that he would be individually charged for each of the 179 000 images and that formulating the charge sheet would take at least two to three months.

Jeppe said that this was unacceptable as he had been battling since June this year to obtain the charge sheet.

“My client has the right to a speedy trial and this is not acceptable,” Jeppe said.

Bastian said that the DPP had decided that each image would also have to be described in the charge sheet.

Jeppe said that this “mammoth task” would take much longer than just three months and then putting each count to his client would take even longer.

“We will still be busy come Christmas next year.”

He said the decision was puzzling as the law allowed for all the images to be included in one count.

Magistrate Eugenia Jacobs agreed and said that because this was a “serious case” that she would allow one final postponement and said she wanted the office of the DPP to consider the massive task of individually describing each image.

“I urge that those involved in this case get their house in order otherwise there will be no other option, but to strike the matter from the roll,” Jacobs said.

Jeppe also again highlighted earlier discussions about reducing the number of images from about 179 000 to about 50 000 due to duplication.

The matter was postponed to November 30.

African News Agency

Share this article: