Alleged paedophile’s lawyer withdraws

The lawyer representing Johan Maree, 52, who stands accused of molesting 15 teenage boys and supplying them with alcohol, has withdrawn from representing the accused, citing untenable instructions and not receiving the full docket from the State.

Tuna Nhinda, Maree’s lawyer from the Directorate of Legal Aid, told High Court Judge Philanda Christiaan on Monday that he could no longer represent Maree because his instructions are untenable. Nhinda also said he did not receive the full disclosure from the State and as such could not continue representing Maree.

Maree was arrested in April 2020. His trial was scheduled to commence in the High Court on Monday. He faces 75 charges including 24 counts of rape, 10 charges of using a child to create child pornography, 18 counts of child trafficking and 13 charges of supplying alcohol to a child under the age of 18. The incidences reportedly occurred between 2016 and 2020.

According to the indictment, Maree raped 13 of the boys and used 10 of them for child pornography. The accused, who is also a former police reservist, has been denied bail since his incarceration.

Nhinda told the presiding judge that he has engaged his superiors at the legal aid directorate to acquire the disclosure from the State, but to no avail.

Judge Christiaan has since summoned the Chief Legal Officer at the legal aid directorate to explain to the cour what steps were taken.

Christiaan had previously given an order for the matter to be taken up by the director.

“This is putting the court in limbo because this is a 2022 matter,” the judge remarked.

Meanwhile, prosecutor Palmer Khumalo indicated that the State is ready to provide the disclosure, but without the explicit images of the victims who are minors. According to Khumalo, the State had previously provided the full disclosure to Maree’s former lawyer, Eva Nangolo. It is Khumalo’s argument that Nangolo distributed the children’s explicit images to Maree, which he says goes against the principalities of protecting minors. Maree denied this, saying the disclosure he received was incomplete.

Source: The Namibian Press Agency