WINDHOEK, 19 APR – High Court Judge President Petrus Damaseb has been assigned to preside over the trial of a South African national accused of 19 human trafficking and rape offences committed in Namibia during 2012.
This was revealed when the accused, South African national Martinus Pretorius made another appearance before High Court Judge Christie Liebenberg during a pre-trial of case management review on Thursday.
“This human trafficking and child molestation case is on High Court Judge Petrus Damaseb’s roll. The Judge President will be managing this case himself,” said Liebenberg.
The 47-year-old Pretorius is scheduled to make his first appearance before Judge President Damaseb on Monday, during which a date for the start of his human trafficking and rape trial will be decided upon by his government-funded defence lawyer, Attorney Jan Wessels, and State Advocate Felistas Shikerete-Vendura.
Pretorius, a former South African police officer, faces other charges emanating from coercive circumstances in which the alleged rape and human trafficking offences took place. These include assault by threat, common assault and malicious damage to property.
He allegedly raped three minor girls aged between 13 and 14 in Swakopmund in 2012 before fleeing the country in September of that year.
Pretorius was arrested in South Africa in April 2016, after which the extradition process commenced and concluded in December 2017, when he was finally brought back to Namibia to face the charges.
He was employed at Rössing Uranium Mine near Arandis when the alleged crimes took place.
His co-accused, Namibian Johanna Lukas who allegedly provided the minor girls to Pretorius on four occasions between April and May 2012, was sentenced to 13 years’ direct imprisonment on counts of human trafficking and rape.
The judgement was handed down by Judge President Damaseb in August 2015.
Pretorius is alleged to have paid Lukas N.dollars 10 000.
Lukas is the first person in Namibia to be convicted of trafficking children for sexual exploitation.
Pretorius remains in police custody at the Windhoek Central Correctional Facility.