Nigerian pastor Timothy Omotoso’s rape case postponed to June

The case involving the contentious Nigerian televangelist Timothy Omotoso has been rescheduled to run from June 24 to July 5 for the main trial.

This comes after Omotoso and his two co-accused, Lusanda Sulani and Zikiswa Sitho, appeared for a special entry application before the High Court of South Africa, Eastern Cape Division, sitting in Gqeberha.

The court rejected the application on Tuesday.

The defence team’s application for discharge had previously been denied by judge Irma Schoeman.

The state was prepared to move forward with the remaining trial proceedings, according to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).

The state would question the accused during their presentation of evidence.

The three are accused of 32 offences, including sexual assault, rape, racketeering, and trafficking in persons for sex.

Since Omotoso, the Nigerian founder of Jesus Dominion International Church, was arrested in April 2017, there have been multiple delays in the trial.

The main locations of Omotoso’s church were in South Africa, Nigeria, and Israel, and its national headquarters was in Durban.

Witnesses withdraw participation

Some witnesses indicated they had moved on with their lives and were not interested in repeating their experiences in court, which made them decide they could no longer continue with testifying.

The charges have now been lowered to 63 as a result.

Omotoso is currently being charged with 32 crimes after being refused bail, while his two co-accused are out on bail.

The complainants were either members of the church, staff members, or individuals chosen to participate in its programmes after being enlisted on the grounds that they would advance spiritually or enhance their quality of life.

Omotoso allegedly, through his co-accused, paid for and arranged for the complainants to travel to his hotels in Durban, Israel, or Nigeria.

Omotoso or his helpers would, however, notify the complainants of house rules upon their arrival, telling them not to contact male companions or to turn off their cellphones, and they were expected to follow his further instructions.

Speaking on behalf of the NPA, Luxolo Tyali stated that the state is still dedicated to making sure that the case is resolved as quickly as possible in order to provide the victims with justice.

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