Delft principal walks free – indecent assault, child pornography charges dropped

CAPE ARGUS

Reporter – Fouzia van der Fort

The failure of a city magistrate to correctly complete a search warrant has led to the acquittal of a Delft primary school principal accused of indecently touching little girls and possessing child pornography. Yesterday, Christian Abrahams, 56, of Kuils River, who was arrested on June 26 last year is a free man after Parow Regional Court magistrate Hennie le Roux declared the search warrant invalid and ruled that all evidence gathered from it be inadmissible. Abrahams’s arrest followed reports from the girls aged between 10 and 14 that they had been touched inappropriately, between 2004 and 2005. But le Roux found Abrahams innocent on all three counts of indecent assault and three counts of possessing child pornography, with images of the breasts of one of the girls. Le Roux ruled that the search warrant executed on Abrahams’s house was “null and void” after another magistrate failed to properly complete the warrant. He said the incorrect section and act was filled in on the form and that the complainants’s statements were not attached to the warrant which should have been perused by the magistrate before signing it. The warrant was also incorrectly signed as it did not clearly show the full names of the magistrate. Defence advocate Johan Engelbrecht, SC, of the Pretoria Bar, instructed by Cape Town attorney Reaz Khan, had requested that the evidence collected as a result of the illegal warrant be disregarded. They had contended that Abrahams’s constitutional right to privacy had been violated and that he was refused the right to have his attorney present while the search was being conducted. The State had confiscated numerous discs from Abrahams. Earlier this month, moments after Abrahams pleaded not guilty to all the charges against him, the girls testified in camera and via closed circuit television. Engelbrecht brought an application to have Abrahams acquitted on all six charges. Abrahams, overwhelmed with relief, sat in the dock after being acquitted. He told the media that he was grateful it was all over. “Now I can get on with my life,” he said. Prior to his arrest Abrahams resigned as principal of the Hague Primary school in Delft. He refused to comment on returning to his profession yesterday.