9 July 2010, 15:42
Related ArticlesCourt bars disposal of BMW owned by fugitive
By Fatima Schroeder High Court Writer
The Western Cape High Court has declared that a BMW X5, which belonged to alleged German paedophile Werner Braun, must be forfeited to the State.
The order, granted on Monday, came after the National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) lodged an application for the forfeiture.
In an affidavit before the court, Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Jan Cornelius Gerber said police evidence indicated Braun had been sexually exploiting children from as early as June 2003, up until his alleged activities were exposed on television programme Special Assignment in September 2005.
Braun fled to Germany, via Namibia, after the allegations were first publicised on national television. Gerber said police had traced eight girls, all younger than 16, who claimed Braun had paid them for sexual activities.
Six police dockets against Braun had been opened, and at least three additional girls had been identified. These girls had not yet been traced, he added.
In previous related court applications, it emerged that Braun allegedly used the names Jack, Gareth or Garit. He was accused of having misled the children, impressing them with cash and luxury cars.
According to Gerber, the children came from poor families, mostly from the Macassar and Kleinvlei areas, and worked as child prostitutes.
Other children, from the Somerset West area, were pupils at a local high school. One did not attend school.
He said statements taken from the girls revealed that the BMW was instrumental in the offences they said were committed.
"Braun evaded suspicion and detection by members of the public or the police by concealing the children in the BMW when he took them to the immovable property in order to commit lewd acts with them.
"This he did by flattening the seats and getting the children to lie down while he transported them to the immovable property. The BMW symbolised wealth and served to entice indigent girls, vulnerable to sexual exploitation for money," Gerber said.
He added that Braun had admitted committing lewd and obscene acts with children in previous related court applications.
In one of the previous applications, Braun denied that he left South Africa to avoid prosecution, but said he fled because he feared for his safety after being told that his life would be at risk if he revealed anything about payments to police officers.
He also claimed that he had fled because his social circle rejected him after the allegations were publicised.
On Monday Judge James Yekiso ordered that the vehicle be auctioned, and the proceeds paid into the Criminal Asset Recovery Account.
This article was originally published on page 9 of The Cape Argus on July 09, 2010