Former principal found guilty of child pornography

MBOMBELA – The former principal of Penryn Preparatory who was first investigated by an international child-pornography police operation in 2013, has been found guilty on three of seven charges leveled against him.  According to the Provincial National Prosecuting Authority spokesman, Ms Monica Nyuswa, Neil Malherbe (49) was found guilty on three charges related to child pornography in the Regional Magistrate’s Court on Monday. Malherbe was found not guilty on four other charges, including one count of importation of child pornography.

Presiding magistrate, Ms Vanessa Joubert, made her judgement after the state had given evidence of video footage and images, and on the testimony of witnesses.  Malherbe was arrested on August 15, 2013 after police searched his home and seized his computer. Malherbe’s arrest made international headlines as it was reported to be part of an international investigation into child pornography.
A confidential source close to the investigation said Malherbe was initially a suspect in the Project Spade investigations, which were started in Canada.  The source alleged that Malherbe had first come under suspicion when he purchased an item on the Internet from a manufacturer who was under investigation in Canada.

Read more here: Former private school principal pleads not guilty to pornography charge

Former SAPS spokesman, Lt Gen Solomon Makgale, confirmed at the time that Project Spade stretched across Canada, the UK, Western Europe and Australasia. Malherbe was one of seven suspects initially arrested, but authorities claimed up to 30 were being investigated countrywide in connection with child pornography.The head of SouthAfrica’s Project Spade, Lt Col Heila Niemand, told Lowvelder yesterday that the investigations have so far been successful with seven perpetrators convicted on child-pornography charges.

Lowvelder previously reported that elsewhere in the country, the trials of other men reportedly arrested as a result of the project, had been concluded. Charles Martin Ashford pleaded guilty to the unlawful possession of child pornography in the Pretoria Regional Court in June last year and incurred a suspended fine of R20 000. He was declared unfit to work with children.

Another suspect, Anthony Ronald Evans, who was arrested at his home in Grahamstown in March this year, entered into a plea bargain with the state in which he would effectively serve 10 years behind bars for his involvement in child pornography. Gregory Robinson received a four-year sentence last year, which was suspended for five years on provision that he does not commit a similar transgression in that time.
Malherbe left the school’s employ in August 2013.  Penryn College executive headmaster, Mr Christian Erasmus, said there were never any allegations, suggestions or even a hint that any Penryn child was linked to any of the charges made against Malherbe.
The matter was postponed to January 18 for sentencing.

Read more here: Principal accused of porn possession: search warrant confirmed legal

Tereasa Dias

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