Swakop man convicted of child trafficking sentenced to eight years

11 Oct 2018 14:10pm
WINDHOEK, 11 OCT (NAMPA) – A Swakopmund resident found guilty of harbouring minor children for sexual exploitation, was on Thursday sentenced to an effective eight years imprisonment.
On 18 September 2018, Bertus Koch, 41, was found guilty on five counts of receiving and harbouring five minor girls between the ages of nine and 13 for sexual exploitation between November 2015 and May 2016 in the DRC informal settlement in Swakopmund.
Koch was also found guilty on five alternative counts dealt with under the provisions of the Combating of Indecent and Immoral Practices Act 7 of 2000 for having exposed the five minor girls to pornographic material and for undressing himself and exposing his private parts in full view of the girls.
On the five charges (counts 1, 3, 5, 7 and 9) in respect of the child trafficking convictions, Koch was sentenced to five years imprisonment for each count of which one year was suspended for a period of five years on condition that he is not convicted of child trafficking or committing or attempting to commit sexual acts with a child under the age of 16, committed during the period of suspension.
In respect of the five convictions under the Combating of Immoral Practices Act (being the alternatives to counts 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10), Koch was sentenced to one year imprisonment on each count which were ordered to run concurrently with the sentence imposed in count 3.
The sentences imposed in respect of counts, 5, 7 and 8 were also ordered to run concurrently with the sentence imposed in count 1.
In the result, Koch was, therefore, sentenced to an effective term of eight years imprisonment.
“The morally harmful pornographic pictures displayed on the walls of Bertus Koch’s bedroom seems to me to be one possible attraction why the minor girls kept going to the convict’s home time and time again and it was during those visits that Koch at times indecently exposed himself to the girls and demanded to have sex with them,” said High Court Judge-President, Petrus Damaseb when handing down the punishment.
According to the Damaseb, Koch has betrayed his community’s trust considering the manner in which he exposed the young victims to such morally deplorable, harmful pornographic material and lewd conduct.
“Society expects of adults to look out for the vulnerable and not to exploit them. Your betrayal of that trust aggravates the offences you committed,” noted Damaseb as he sentenced Koch.
In her submissions in respect of the type of sentence to be imposed, State Advocate Innocentia Nyoni also asked for a direct custodial sentence because Koch took advantage of the youthfulness and vulnerability of the victims to sexually exploit them.
Koch’s State-funded defence lawyer Mpokiseng Dube wanted the court to impose a lenient sentence because his client has HIV and is on anti-retroviral treatment.
Koch was, however, found not guilty and discharged on other five counts of rape following the prosecution’s failure to prove these charges beyond reasonable doubt.
Evidence presented before court during trial had it that Koch lured the minor girls into his house with the promise of food and sweets.
His trial was conducted behind closed doors as the victims were all minors.
Koch is a first-time offender.
He will serve his custodial sentence at the Windhoek Central Correctional Facility, where he was kept since his arrest in 2017.