The case against rape-accused Nigerian televangelist Timothy Omotoso has been postponed to February 13. This is for presiding Judge Irma Schoeman to make a judgement.
This after he appeared before the Eastern Cape High Court sitting in Gqeberha on Tuesday. Omotoso appeared with his co-accused, Lusanda Sulani and Zukiswa Sitho.
Faces 32 charges with two co-accused
The trio faces 32 charges including rape, sexual assault and human trafficking.
In court, defence lawyer Peter Daubermann accused Schoeman of procedural irregularities. He also accused the judge of allegedly failing to ensure that the defence team gets a fair trial.
“The fact of the matter is that there is proof that lead prosecutor on the case advocate Nceba Ntelwa suborned a state witness, Melucia Jiyane to commit perjury. That must be reason enough for the judge to grant this new discharge application,” said Daubermann.
Defence accuse prosecutor, presiding judge
According Daubermann, Judge Schoeman acted unfairly when she refused to call the prosecutors, who were previously either directly and indirectly working on the case, to testify under oath or be subject to cross-examination.
Daubermann alleged that Ntelwa told Jiyane not to change her police statement, where she did not mention an alleged rape. Although she had spoken about it.
“On 3 July 2019, the lead prosecutor in the case, Ntelwa, proposed to his junior, advocate Ismat Cerfontein in the case, in an email. [He mentioned] a certain state witness, Melucia Jiyane,” said Daubermann.
Allegations of perjury
“Advocate Ntelwa suborned Melucia to commit perjury. This by by instructing her not to say, during her evidence under oath at the trial, that Omotoso inserted his fingers into her private part,” Daubermann.
Omotoso’s church, Jesus Dominion International, had major branches in South Africa with Durban being its headquarters. Other branches of the church were in Nigeria and Israel.
The trial experienced numerous delays since the arrest of the Nigerian pastor in April 2017. This resulted in some witnesses no longer showing interest to give evidence. They said they had since moved on with their lives and did not want to relive the trauma in court.