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Child-porn accused denied bail over absconding fears 

2021-10-25  Maria Amakali

Child-porn accused denied bail over absconding fears 
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Windhoek Magistrate Celma Amadhila said there exists no possible conditions that would prohibit a 50-year-old man - facing multiple counts of child pornography and rape - from interfering with investigations, if he were to be granted bail.  

Johann Maree was denied bail on Friday in the Windhoek Magistrate’s Court after the court concluded he was not a credible witness, and that there is a prospect of him interfering with investigations as the victims are minors. Handing down the ruling, Amadhila said the charges Maree is facing are of a serious nature, and there is a real likelihood the State will get a conviction, which would result in a lengthy custodial sentence. 

This, she added, will tempt the accused to abscond and not stand trial. “The interest of justice dictates that the applicant should be remanded in custody pending the finalisation of his case,” said the magistrate. 

Maree is charged with eight counts of rape, eight counts of indecent assault, eight charges of committing an immoral act with a child under the age of 16, eight counts of trafficking in persons by recruiting minor boys to subject them to sexual exploitation, and eight charges of using children to create child pornography. 

The prosecution is alleging he sexually assaulted under-aged boys, and used them to produce pornography that he shared and sold on the internet. The alleged incidents occurred between 2016 and 2020. He has since denied all the allegations. 

Although the police have a confession from Maree in which he admits to all the allegations and gave the names of nearly 34 of his alleged victims, he testified during the bail hearing that he made the confession under duress. But the court said his defence about the confession was a mere after-thought as the confession is detailed with specifics of what he had done to the victims. 

Amadhila further said Maree’s lawyer Eva Nangolo failed to substantiate their defence on why the State would garner children to make a case against him. At the time of his arrest in May last year, the police indicated that they had been carrying out an investigation in collaboration with The Netherlands’ police, the South African police and Interpol since 2019. The police investigations centred around pornographic video recordings of minor boys which have been uploaded to the “dark web” of the internet.  

The videos were allegedly connected to the username Maree. Maree, who worked as a private investigator and sports photographer, was allegedly operating a website under the name ‘Boy Idols’. Through police investigations, it was discovered that Maree sold pictures of boys modelling clothes and swimwear.  

According to the police, videos obtained through investigations show minors performing various sexual acts in bathrooms. Other videos were filmed in toilets and swimming pools at sporting events in Windhoek.  

These videos were also allegedly sold on the internet. The minor boys, who were allegedly preyed on, sexually abused and videotaped by Maree for a pornographic business, are currently undergoing counselling for the trauma. The accused is scheduled to appear in court on 17 January 2022 for the prosecutor general’s decision. The State was represented by prosecutor Phelem Like.

-mamakali@nepc.com.na


2021-10-25  Maria Amakali

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