The Johannesburg High Court has sentenced Gerhard Ackerman, a notorious serial offender, to 12 life sentences for his extensive record of sexual crimes against children in South Africa.
Presiding Judge Mohamed Ismail ruled that the 12 life terms would run concurrently, underscoring the gravity of Ackerman's heinous acts.
In a landmark trial in April, the court found Ackerman guilty of attempted murder and an array of sexual offenses targeting minors, with a predominant focus on young boys.
Among the grave sexual offences, Ackerman was convicted of rape, human trafficking, the sinister grooming of minors, as well as the production, possession, and distribution of child pornography.
Moreover, the court disclosed that Ackerman is currently under trial for a separate case of child sexual abuse, allegedly committed at a Johannesburg country club back in 2018.
The tragic passing of Paul Kennedy, Ackerman's alleged accomplice, cast a somber shadow over the proceedings. Kennedy, who held roles as an advocate and acting judge, tragically died by suicide in February 2022, prior to the commencement of the trial.
Kennedy had been implicated in aiding Ackerman's operation of a harrowing child sex abuse ring, with additional allegations of transmitting HIV to certain victims referred to him by Ackerman.
Following the sentencing, a twist emerged as Ackerman took the surprising step of dismissing his legal representation. Speaking to the press, he staunchly maintained his innocence against the majority, if not all, of the charges levied against him. Ackerman announced his intention to petition for a retrial of the case.