Omotoso trial set for further delays

Nigerian pastor Timothy Omotoso, 60, in the Port Elizabeth High Court on Monday
Nigerian pastor Timothy Omotoso, 60, in the Port Elizabeth High Court on Monday

Further delays are expected in the rape trial of Nigerian pastor Timothy Omotoso once a Port Elizabeth High Court judge makes her ruling on Wednesday, in an application for leave to appeal against her decision allowing the case to be heard in Port Elizabeth.

This comes after defence attorney Peter Daubermann for Omotoso and his two co-accused brought the application forward following judge Irma Schoeman’s ruling that the Port Elizabeth High Court had the authority to hear all 97 charges faced by the three.

On Monday, Daubermann argued that Schoeman did not apply her mind to the real issues related to the directive to centralise the case after he raised concerns about the validity of an authorisation certificate signed by then National Director of Public Prosecutions Shaun Abrahams.

Shortly after the trial began afresh at the end of July, Daubermann claimed that the court did not have the jurisdiction to hear the entire matter, specifically regarding alleged offences which took place elsewhere in the country and abroad.

Daubermann argued that the certificate did not include specific details of the charges faced, that there were discrepancies contained in the indictment and the indictment was not attached to the directive.

He claimed further that, in Schoeman’s ruling that the certificate was valid, she misread a Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) judgment as reference to her decision and that it had no bearing on the current issues.

Daubermann asked Schoeman to grant the appeal and for it to be directed to the SCA.

State prosecutor Nceba Ntelwa told the court that it was not necessary for the certificate to have specific information about the alleged offences as this was included in the indictment.

Schoeman said it might be a situation where the SCA would need to hear the appeal as it was a matter of law that needed to be decided.

Omotoso, 60, Lusanda Sulani, 36, and Zukiswa Sitho, 28, have pleaded not guilty to seven charges alleged to have taken place in Port Elizabeth.

They have not entered pleas for the other charges.