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Omotoso trial: Defense expected to challenge Judge's decision to not step down

Oct 25, 2018
Omotoso trial: Defense expected to challenge Judge's decision to not step down

The Defense in the trial of controversial Nigerian televangelist, Timothy ‘Tim’ Omotoso, is expected to challenge Judge Mandela Makaula’s decision to not recuse himself from the Omotoso trial.

Omotoso and his two co-accused, Zukiswa Sitho and Lusanda Sulani, face a total of 97 charges, with 63 as main charges and 34 as alternative charges.

According to Defense 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 Defense 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.

"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."

His clients "refused to plead to all the charges against them”.

A second witness is also expected to take the stand following the damning testimony by Cheryl Zondi, against the televangelist and his co-accused.

Zondi detailed how she joined the church and was later sexually abused by Omotoso at his Durban home.

She also linked one of Omotoso's co-accused, Lusanda Solani, to the abuses.

Judge Makaula refused to step down

On Monday, Daubermann’s application for Judge Makaula to recuse himself was dismissed.

Daubermann said that they intend to take the application to the Supreme Court of Appeal to have Makaula removed.

It is expected that on Thursday afternoon, Omotoso’s legal team will bring an application for leave to appeal Judge Makaula’s refusal to recuse himself from the case.

Proceedings will begin at 2:00pm.

Omotoso's wife, Taiwo, as well as members of his church, are at the Port Elizabeth High Court.

Renowned Defense Advocate, Terry Price, is also at the court to assist in the Defense’s application.

The trial is expected to conclude in December.

Trial continues...

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