Judge dismisses Timothy Omotoso defence's leave to appeal

30 October 2018 - 14:12 By Devon Koen
Judge Mandela Makaula enters the courtroom where the case against controversial pastor Timothy Omotoso, Lusanda Sulani and Zukiswa Sitho was being heard in the Port Elizabeth High Court on October 22 2018.
Judge Mandela Makaula enters the courtroom where the case against controversial pastor Timothy Omotoso, Lusanda Sulani and Zukiswa Sitho was being heard in the Port Elizabeth High Court on October 22 2018.
Image: Eugene Coetzee/The Herald

Port Elizabeth High Court Judge Mandela Makaula on Tuesday dismissed two applications for leave to appeal against his decisions not to recuse himself and to quash the charges against controversial Nigerian pastor Timothy Omotoso.

Handing down judgment‚ Makaula said he stood by his earlier decisions not to grant the original applications‚ stating that he found no reasonable prospects for success on either application brought by Omotoso’s defence team.

“I stand by my word in deciding these applications. I will not regurgitate them or repeat them ... there are no reasonable prospects of success. The application for leave to appeal is dismissed‚” Makaula said.

Makaula said he was astonished when advocate Terry Price SC on behalf of Omotoso‚ 60‚ and his co-accused Lusanda Sulani‚ 36‚ brought the application for leave to appeal against his decision not to quash the 97 charges Omotoso‚ Sulani and the third accused‚ Zukiswa Sitho‚ face on the basis that Price had not given reasons for the application.

Omotoso’s attorney Peter Daubermann brought the application at the beginning of the trial on October 8 on the basis that the charge sheet lacked the information and detail needed to build a proper defence but Makaula dismissed the application and ordered the state to furnish further particulars to the defence‚ which was done.

On his decision not to grant leave to appeal his decision not to recuse himself‚ Makaula said he had dealt with the grounds for the application at length.

Makaula said claims by the defence that he was being biased and sided with state witness Cheryl Zondi when he offered her time to adjourn or checked to see if she was okay to continue her testimony were taken out of context.

“[These comments] were deliberately taken out of context‚” Makaula said.

After the dismissal Daubermann requested the court to postpone the matter to allow his clients to petition the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA).

Makaula granted the postponement stating that in the interests of justice‚ the accused should be allowed the time to use all legal avenues available to them.

Omotoso‚ Sulani and Sitho face 63 main and 34 alternative charges among them‚ ranging from human trafficking and sexual assault to rape and racketeering.

The case was provisionally postponed to December 10 pending the resolution decided by the SCA.

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