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Ex-cop gets dates for child-rape trial

The trial of a Windhoek resident accused of sexually abusing under-age boys and using them to make pornographic material is due to start in the High Court in August this year.

Former police officer and police reservist Johann Maree (52) was informed of his trial dates when he made a first appearance before acting judge Philanda Christiaan, who is due to preside at his trial, in the Windhoek High Court ealier this week.

The trial is scheduled to start on 7 August and run until 16 August, with a further session from 18 to 22 September.

Maree is facing 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 under-age boys. The state is alleging that 13 of the boys were raped or indecently assaulted by Maree 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, who paid him through a money transfer service.

According to the state, Maree received payments from nine buyers, based in the United States, The Netherlands, Switzerland, France and Australia.

He was arrested and charged at the end of April 2020, following an investigation prompted by a request from the police in The Netherlands for assistance from the Namibian Police.

Maree has previously indicated in a pretrial document filed at the court that he intends to deny guilt on all of the charges on which he is due to be prosecuted.

His previous defence lawyer has also informed the court that according to Maree he suffered from a mental defect when the alleged crimes he is accused of were committed, and that he has no recollection of the incidents in which the state alleges he was involved.
The court ordered in September last year that Maree should be evaluated by a psychiatrist to establish if he is fit to stand trial.

According to a report from a psychiatrist that was submitted to the court last week, Maree has been found mentally fit to stand trial, and was mentally stable and capable of understanding the wrongfulness of his alleged actions at the time the offences he is accused of are claimed to have been committed.

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 judgement was dismissed in the High Court at the end of May last year.