Guidance counsellor’s three million pictures under the spotlight

former school guidance counsellor, Darren Goddard currently on bail awaiting trial

This is the reason why state advocate Frank Van Heerden yesterday asked for, and was granted a two week adjournment by the Pietermaritzburg High Court. The sheer quantum of images found – over 3.2 million – would mean that the cyber-crime unit would have to examine over 200 000 images a day, working seven days a week, until the case returns to court on August 14, this year.
No evidence was led by the state however regarding what is depicted in any of the images found by forensic analysts in Pretoria.
While the huge number of images cited by Van Heerden startled the gallery observing proceedings, it was a “happy viewing” remark made by a member of Goddard’s legal team to the state that left many of the alleged victims’ families disconcerted
“This is such a sensitive matter and no matter what is on those images there is nothing to be happy about with the remark showing a total disregard of the seriousness of the issue” said the mother of one of the alleged victims.

Also read: Goddard’s fourth bail appeal succeeds

Martin Pelders who heads the NGO Matrix Men providing support for victims of sexual abuse and who was at court to observe proceedings said he too was shocked at the remark.
“The comment was brazen and careless especially with the victims’ parents present during the court sitting. It is reflection of how society’s mind-set is shaped and where there is no sensitivity or compassion,” said Pelders advocating that society needs to engage in conversation to destigmatise and breakdown stereotypes related to cases of sexual abuse.
Yesterday’s appearance in the High Court follows Goddard’s fourth bail application in March this year Justice Sidwell Mngadi granted him R10 000 bail after being held in custody for nearly eleven months after his arrest last March.
Judge Nomusa Khuzwayo on Tuesday (yesterday) morning extended the former school counsellor’s extended bail pending the report from the Cyber-crime unit. The case will resume on August 14, 2017.


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Bongeka Sibisi

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