The Directorate of Legal Aid has appointed Joseph Andreas from Andreas-Hamunyela Law firm to further defend Marthinus Pretorius, who was convicted of raping two under-aged girls and of trafficking in persons.
This came about after his former lawyer Zacharias Grobler died earlier this year.
Pretorius was convicted by Windhoek High Court Deputy Judge President Hosea Angula in November last year on the charge of trafficking in persons – a charge he denied – while he pleaded guilty to the rape of two under-aged girls.
During his testimony in mitigation, Pretorius told the judge “I am sorry for what I have done.”
Judge Angula postponed the pre-sentencing hearing to 20 October for a status report on the case after Andreas asked for the postponement to get up to date with the facts of the matter.
During his conviction ruling, judge Angula found that Pretorius (49) received the two girls in question – then 13 and 14 years old respectively – at his house in Swakopmund for the purpose of sexual exploitation, and as a result was guilty of trafficking in persons in terms of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act.
According to the judge, as a former police officer, Pretorius should have known it was an offence to have intercourse with minor girls.
He pleaded guilty to six counts of rape when his trial started, but pleaded not guilty to six counts of child trafficking. He claimed the girls were brought to him or came on their own free will, and he never detained any of them at his house.
The judge rejected the defence of Pretorius that the girls had gone to his house voluntarily and agreed to have intercourse with him for money, and that he did not detain them at his house against their will.
Pretorius said he accepted the court’s decision, and will abide by it. He, however, apologised profusely to the victims and their families as well as the Namibian nation and the court.
Pretorius was charged with 13 counts of rape and trafficking in persons, alternatively committing a sexual act with a child below 16 years of age for allegedly defiling three minor girls while he was attached to Swakopmund’s Rössing Uranium Mine in 2012.
The State, however, withdrew the charges for the third complainant as it came to light that she was 18 years old, and was coerced by her mother to engage in intercourse with Pretorius in exchange for money.
Pretorius managed to flee to his native South Africa after his alleged devious schemes to procure young girls from a Swakopmund woman for his perverted sexual pleasures was uncovered. He was arrested in Johannesburg, South Africa in March 2016 after the Namibian authorities asked the South African authorities to extradite him to Namibia to stand trial for his alleged misdeeds, but was only extradited to Namibia in December 2018 due to the long extradition process.
The State is represented by Felicitas Sikerete-Vendura.
Pretorius is being held at the Windhoek Correctional Facility’s section for trial-awaiting prisoners.