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Omotoso trial: Judge Makuala dismisses Defence application to have case thrown out

By Afikile Lugunya - Oct 8, 2018
Omotoso trial: Judge Makuala dismisses Defence application to have case thrown out

The trial of controversial Nigerian televangelist and senior Pastor of the Jesus Dominion International Church, Pastor Timothy Omotoso, and his two co-accused, Lusanda Solani and Zukiswa Sitho, will resume on Tuesday after the Port Elizabeth High Court dismissed an application by their lawyer to have their charges dropped.

When the high profile trial, which has attracted international attention with the presence of Nigerian journalists at the court, the Defence Attorney, Peter Dauberman, argued that there were inadequacies in the State's submission against the trio.

He said that the State and its witnesses had failed to provide details of when and where the allegations against Omotoso and his coaccused actually took place. He, therefore, said that the case must be thrown out.

State attorney responds

Respresenting the State, Nceba Ntelwa, said that the State was depending on the evidence and consultations with the applicants, which explains why the charge sheet was lacking in the details of exactly when and where the abuses actually occurred.

Daubermann argued that it would be difficult for his clients to respond to the alleged crimes if they do not have specific details such as the dates, times and locations where the crimes allegedly happened.

Omotoso, Solani and Sitho, are facing 97 charges in total, 63 of those charges constitute the main charge sheet while 34 are alternative charges. The charges include racketeering activities, sexual assault and rape.

Adv Dauberman pointed out to the PE High Court that the indictment says that the offences started in 2009 and continued to 2015 with no specifications on dates and places where the offences actually took place.

Dauberman argued that in every case, the accused has a right and are entitled to a fair trial as is written in the Constitution - and that right of fair trial includes a specific place of the offences written down as well as all details around the case against them.

Presiding Judge, Mandela Makuala, adjourned proceedings and in the afternoon returned with a vedict that has dismissed the application by Omotoso's Defence.

Judge Makaula did state any reasons why he decided to proceed with the trial that is expected to conclude in December.

The Judge, however, said that he will state his reasons for dismissing the Defence's application during or after the trial.

Meanwhile, the State will have to hastily compile the details on the specific dates, times and locations where the alleged abuses the complainants say happened.

The trial has been postponed to Tuesday; Omotoso will remain in prison while Sitho and Solani will remain out on bail.

Omotoso, who appeared at court smartly dressed and clutching a Bible, has been a languishing at the St Albans Correctional Facility, just outside Port Elizabeth, since his arrest at the Port Elizabeth International Airport in April 2017.

Omotoso arrest

He had just landed at the Port Elizabeth International Airport after evading arrest for days when the scandal came out.

At the airport, Omotoso apparently tried to avoid arrest by first lying about his flight's arrival time then hiding in public toilets at the airport when he found armed officers waiting for him.

He later made two attempts to get bail, which failed.

Two women, who are alleged to have been responsible for recruiting and grooming girls for the 59-year-old Pastor, Lusanda Solani (36) and Zukiswa Sitho (28), were also arrested last year.

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