Namibia: Magistrate Court Postpones Human Trafficking Case

The formal bail application of South African national Kenneth Karner (66), who was nabbed for alleged human trafficking involving two minor girls, has been postponed for the continuation of his application to be released on bail on the charges levelled against him.

Karner appeared briefly last week in the Outapi Magistrate's Court before Magistrate Eden Amutenya, and his bail application was postponed to 24-25 June while he was remanded in police custody.

According to the police, when the suspect was interrogated, his mobile phone and a camera in his possession were taken after pornographic content involving the two minors was found.

He stands accused of contravening Section 3(2) of Combating of Trafficking in person, Act 1 of 2018. Alternatively, the contravention of Section 14 of Combating of Immoral Practice, Act 21 of 1980 as amended in Act 7 of 2000.

Karner, accused of trafficking in persons, offered the biological parents N$2 500 for each of the minor girls that he stands accused of having sexually exploited and for having performed immoral acts with them. The suspect arrived in Namibia through Oranjemund in the //Kharas region on 10 March this year as a tourist. He then proceeded to Kamanjab and Opuwo in Kunene region, where he allegedly received two minor girls, aged 14 and 15, from their biological parents, for sexual exploitation. The accused, who was represented by his private legal practitioner Peter Greyling, informed the court that he needed bail because he has medical conditions such as a skin disease, which is aggravated by stress, and kidney stones that require avoiding cold and dump conditions.

Amutenya said although the court has taken into consideration the time, the medical situations in the urgency of the applications, the applicant cited wrong parties and the court could not give that order. The prosecutor in the matter objected to bail, saying the applicant is charged with a serious offence and it will not be in the public interest and administration of justice if granted bail.

She said that the applicant is likely to abscond if granted bail.

"The applicant might interfere with witnesses and police investigations, and he might commit the same offence," said the prosecutor.

However, the defence lawyer stated that the accused would not abscond because it is a criminal act to do that and he can be extradited from South Africa if he absconds.

He further told the court that if granted bail, he can afford to pay N$20 000. He further told the court that his camera that he was found with is worth N$120 000.

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