Human trafficking accused awaits Legal Aid response

23 Jan 2018 13:40pm
WINDHOEK, 23 JAN (NAMPA) – A South African national accused of 19 human trafficking and rape offences in Namibia in 2012, is waiting for a response to his application for State-funded legal representation.
Marthinus Pretorius, 46, informed High Court Judge Nate Ndauendapo on Tuesday during his first appearance in this court that he on 14 December 2017 applied to the Justice Ministry's Directorate of Legal Aid for a government-funded defence lawyer, but has not yet received a response.
His case was thereafter remanded until 15 February 2018 in order to allow the Legal Aid Directorate to go through his application and issue a response.
Pretorius, a former South African police officer, faces other charges emanating from coercive circumstances in which the alleged rapes and trafficking 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, Johanna Lukas, 24, 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 High Court Judge President, Petrus 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 with no option to post bail.
State Advocate Felisitas Sikerete-Vendura appeared for the prosecution.