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Omotoso latest news: Judge Makaula refuses to step down from trial over allegations of bias

By Afikile Lugunya - Oct 22, 2018
Omotoso latest news: Judge Makaula refuses to step down from trial over allegations of bias

Port Elizabeth High Court Judge, Mandela Makaula, on Monday dismissed an application by controversial Nigerian televangelist and senior pastor of the Jesus Dominion International church, Timothy Omotoso, and his co-accused, Lusanda Sulani and Zukiswa Sitho, that he recuse himself from the trial over alleged bias towards the State.

According to Defence attorney, Peter Daubermann, his clients based the application on a message that was delivered by Judge Makaula on Wednesday last week in which he wished the State's first witness, 22-year-old Cheryl Zondi, well on her exams and to forget about what is happening in court, but to focus on her exams.

The Defence said that this was among many of the remarks made by the Judge towards Zondi, which showed he may have already decided that her version of events was correct.

On Monday last week, Zondi missed her exam because of the Omotoso trial and she is understood to bewriting another exam today.

Zondi is a Marketing student at the University of Johannesburg.

Omotoso, Sitho and Sulani wrote the affidavit, which was read in court by Daubermann.

The accused said that their right to a fair trial will be infringed if Makaula is not removed.

Daubermann suggested that Judge Makaula be removed not later than today.

He said that Judge Makaula allowed his humanity to get the better of him when he made remarks to Zondi.

Daubermann said that it was unfortunately that he'd have to criticise him for that.

"What you did was to commend the witness for coming to court to testify. When you said 'leave it to us' which emphasized that leave it to you and 'justice will be done'," he said.

Daubermann said that a witness that comes to court to tell lies is not for the interest of justice.

"You commended her for testifying and you wished her luck commencing her exams and you were sympathetic to her.

"It's not your job to console witnesses."

He added that those remarks could only mean one thing, "You have already accepted her version."

Judge Makaula must step down from the trial

"There is no point of continuing this trial before you. There is no alterio motives on their sides, Omotoso is only asking for a fair trial and he believes that he won't get it before you," Daubermann continued.

He advised Judge Makaula to think hard before making a decision to the application.

He had added that if he stepped down, Zondi would be called again to testify before another judge.

"If you refuse this application now, and other witnesses come forward with their testimony and later your decide that you want to excuse yourself from this, then we would have to start over again."

Daubermann has since indicated that they will apply for leave to appeal Judge Makaula's decision to stay on the case.

Trial continues...

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