Home News Abirah Dekhta’s ‘kidnappers’ slapped with child pornography charges

Abirah Dekhta’s ‘kidnappers’ slapped with child pornography charges

Cape Town – The State has added additional charges against the seven men accused of kidnapping eight-year-old Abirah Dekhta, in the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday.

Initially, the accused had been charged with kidnapping and extortion.

During court proceedings, Magistrate Goolam Bawa dealt with media applications for the accused to be named and photographed and have the proceedings filmed live.

However, State prosecutor advocate Mervyn Meningo and the defence counsel opposed the application.

Abirah Dekhta was snatched while seated in her school transport on November 4. File Picture

Western Cape spokesperson for the National Prosecuting Authority Eric Ntabazalila said the applications were opposed in order to preserve the integrity of the investigation as an identity parade needed to be held.

Bawa ordered that the names and pictures of the accused not be published.

Any person in breach of the court order stands to be prosecuted.

Dekhta was snatched while seated in her lift club vehicle in Amber Court in Gatesville, Athlone.

The Rylands Primary School pupil was abducted on the morning of November 4, while they were waiting for another pupil.

On November 14, hours before she returned home, residents of the Gatesville community took to the corners of Jakes Gerwel and Klipfontein roads hosting a peaceful protest, calling for her safe return.

Dekhta was rescued from a shack in Town Two, Khayelitsha after police received a tip-off.

According to police, officers were watching the shack and observed three men patrolling outside.

When police pounced on the shack, a further four men were found inside and arrested.

Ntabazalila said accused 2 to 4 were found to have no legal representative.

“A legal representative represented them at the first appearance withdrew his mandate for them as well as for accused 5 and 6. A new legal representative came on board for accused 5 and 6,” he said.

Accused 2 to 4 told the court they would be hiring private legal representation and their counsel would be present at their next court appearance.

The court also heard the State would be prosecuting the accused under Schedule 6 offences of the Criminal Procedures Act.

The offences listed in Schedule 6 are the most serious violent crimes, namely murder, rape and robbery.

The court further heard that an amendment was made to the charge sheet and new charges were added.

The accused now face charges under the Prevention of Organised Crime Act, accused two is charged with robbery with aggravating circumstances and the rest also face charges of kidnapping alternatively trafficking in persons, child pornography, attempted extortion and contravention of the Cybercrime Act.

The matter has been postponed until Tuesday, December 13, to arrange a date for a bail application.