God­dard trial on pause

Judge may re­cuse her­self from child rape case

The Witness - - NEWS - SHARIKA REGCHAND

THE rape and sex­ual as­sault trial of Dar­ren God­dard has been put on pause un­til the state de­cides on how to pro­ceed.

It emerged yes­ter­day that there is a pos­si­bil­ity that the state might ap­ply for the pre­sid­ing judge, Kate Pil­lay, to re­cuse her­self from the case.

State ad­vo­cate Frank van Heer­den yes­ter­day placed on record in court that the case was ad­journed on Fri­day for the state to de­cide whether to ap­ply for the judge’s re­cusal from the trial.

He told the court that hav­ing spo­ken to his “se­niors” it was de­cided that the way for­ward will be to first have the “tri­al­within­a­trial” pro­ceed­ings tran­scribed to put the state in a po­si­tion to make an in­formed de­ci­sion on whether to bring such an ap­pli­ca­tion or not.

The cause ap­pears to have been a dis­pute that arose dur­ing the lunch break last Thurs­day.

This hap­pened when the judge was not in court.

Al­though noth­ing about this has been re­vealed in open court it is un­der­stood the is­sue, which arose be­tween the state and de­fence, has to do with a doc­u­ment that has been handed to the judge.

At is­sue is where the doc­u­ment came from — ei­ther po­lice in­ves­ti­gat­ing the mat­ter, a former friend of God­dard’s or from some­where else.

The state and de­fence are un­able to agree.

Van Heer­den only told the court yes­ter­day that a tran­scribed record would as­sist in de­ter­min­ing what God­dard’s “case was and what the po­si­tion is”.

The former pri­mary school coun­sel­lor was tes­ti­fy­ing in a trial­within­a­trial last week to de­ter­mine if the state is en­ti­tled to use cer­tain ev­i­dence to help prove the 13 charges of rape and sex­ual as­sault against him.

God­dard also faces two other charges, re­lated to child pornog­ra­phy.

The crimes al­legedly took place be­tween 2012 to 2016 dur­ing God­dard’s em­ploy­ment at the school.

His al­leged vic­tims were all boys. So far the state has only led ev­i­dence on the child pornog­ra­phy charges.

Sergeant An­dries van Ton­der of the po­lice cy­ber crime unit told the court about the re­port he com­piled on the dates and times porno­graphic ma­te­rial was down­loaded and ac­cessed on God­dard’s lap­top, USB and two DVDs.

He said it hap­pened over a long pe­riod of time and that there were too many im­ages found on God­dard’s lap­top and stor­age de­vices for their dates to have been tam­pered with.

Af­ter he com­pleted his ev­i­dence, the trial­within­a­trial com­menced. First to tes­tify was a psy­chol­o­gist with whom God­dard had con­sulted while in prison.

He tes­ti­fied that God­dard gave him in­for­ma­tion to fax to his le­gal team on two oc­ca­sions.

He said that two po­lice of­fi­cers came to his of­fice, pro­duced a sub­poena, and took his file re­lated to God­dard. They were not en­ti­tled to take priv­i­leged in­for­ma­tion.

How­ever, Van Heer­den has ques­tioned if any­thing said be­tween him and God­dard were priv­i­leged be­cause he was not reg­is­tered as a coun­selling psy­chol­o­gist.

God­dard then took the stand and his cross­ex­am­i­na­tion has since been put on hold.

The case has been ad­journed to to­mor­row for the tran­scripts to be ob­tained.

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