The trial of a former police reservist accused of sexually abusing 13 under-age boys and creating child pornography that he sold internationally has been moved to November, to give the charged man more time to have consultations with his defence lawyer.
Windhoek resident Johann Maree’s trial is now scheduled to begin on 6 November, after defence lawyer Meriam Kandoni asked acting judge Philanda Christiaan yesterday to postpone the start of the trial to give her more time to have consultations with Maree.
Maree (52) is due to be prosecuted in the Windhoek High Court on 75 charges, including 24 counts of rape, 10 counts of using a child to create pornography, 18 counts of child trafficking, five charges of committing an indecent act with a child under the age of 16, and 13 counts of encouraging or allowing a child under the age of 16 to drink liquor.
The charges involve 15 boys, who were under the age of 18 when various incidents allegedly orchestrated by Maree took place.
The state is alleging that Maree raped or indecently assaulted 13 of the boys during the period from 2014 to April 2020, and that he also used 10 of the boys to make pornographic material.
Maree, who was self-employed as a photographer and videographer, allegedly sold the pornographic material to buyers outside Namibia.
According to the state, Maree received payments from nine buyers, based in the United States, The Netherlands, Switzerland, France and Australia, who paid him through a money transfer service.
The state is also alleging that Maree sexually abused the boys after befriending them and their families at sport events that he attended as a photographer, and that he gave the boys alcohol to drink and cigarettes to smoke at his residence in Windhoek, where he allegedly filmed the boys “in various states of undress and nudity”.
Maree is a former police officer and was a police reservist when he was arrested and charged at the end of April 2020. He was arrested following an investigation prompted by a request from the police in The Netherlands for assistance from the Namibian Police.
In a pretrial document filed at the court, Maree has indicated that he intends to deny guilt on all of the charges against him.
Maree has been held in custody since his arrest.
An application by him to be granted bail was turned down in the Windhoek Magistrate’s Court in October 2021, and an appeal against that ruling was dismissed in the High Court at the end of May last year.