Human trafficking trial postponed to mid-October

30 Sep 2019 15:20pm
WINDHOEK, 30 SEP (NAMPA) – The continuation of the trial of Martinus Pretorius, a South African national facing 19 human trafficking and rape charges committed in Namibia in 2012, will resume in the High Court here in mid-October 2019.
Pretorius, 49, made another appearance before High Court Judge Christie Liebenberg on Monday, when he was informed that his trial will begin on 15 October 2019 because Deputy High Court Judge-President Hosea Angula, who is presiding over the case, was not present in court on Monday due to other official commitments.
The date was decided upon as per agreement reached between Pretorius’ Legal Aid-funded defence lawyer Zagrys Grobler and prosecution representative, State Advocate Felistas Shikerete-Vendura.
Pretorius also informed the court that he will undergo a medical operation scheduled for 13 February 2020 because he is suffering from severe back pain which makes it impossible for him to sit or stand for a long time.
He had a similar operation while in police custody in South Africa after his arrest there in April 2016.
Pretorius, a former South African police officer, also faces other charges emanating from the 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 the Erongo Region in 2012, before fleeing the country in September of the same year.
Pretorius was arrested in South Africa in April 2016, after which he was extradited to Namibia in December 2017 to face the charges against him.
He was employed by Rössing Uranium Mine near Arandis in the Erongo Region 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 already found guilty and sentenced to 13 years direct imprisonment on counts of human trafficking and rape.
Pretorius is being held at the Windhoek Central Correctional Facility until his next court appearance.