Faulty paperwork postpones 'sex-pest pastor' Timothy Omotoso's trial
The protracted trial of alleged sex-pest pastor Timothy Omotoso and his two co-accused hit a snag on Monday when the Port Elizabeth High Court heard that the defence's petition to the Supreme Court of Appeal had been delayed after they failed to supply the second-highest court in the country with original documents.
State prosecutor advocate Nceba Ntelwa told Judge Mandela Makaula that the SCA had indicated that the defence had had to submit original documents as part of their petition but had instead supplied copies.
This has since been done said Ntelwa.
Defence attorney Peter Daubermann, representing Omotoso, 60, and his two alleged henchwomen Lusanda Sulani, 36, and Zukiswa Sitho, 28, confirmed to the court that the petition had been filed at the SCA, that the state had responded and that the defence had then replied to the response.
“We are now waiting for a decision,” Daubermann said.
Ntelwa informed the court that a mutual decision between the state and defence had been reached to postpone the matter to February 4.
The trio face 97 charges in total, ranging from sexual assault to rape, human trafficking and racketeering.
They did not enter pleas at the start of the trial, prompting Makaula to enter pleas of not guilty on their behalf.
At the start of the trial, Daubermann brought an application to have the charges against the three quashed, which Makaula dismissed.
Then after state witness and alleged victim Cheryl Zondi, 22, finished her gruelling testimony, Daubermann brought an application for Makaula to recuse himself from the case, claiming the judge had sided with Zondi and had already decided the outcome of the case, among other claims.
Makaula dismissed that application.
At the end of October, senior counsel Terry Price, on behalf of the three accused, brought two applications for leave to appeal against Makaula’s two judgments which Makaula dismissed, prompting the defence petitioning the SCA.
National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) regional spokesperson Tsepo Ndwalaza said although the state remained positive about the matter, it was being unnecessarily delayed because of the defence failing to supply the correct documents.
"The defence didn’t send the correct documents … which is bad for them to do. This also delays the case. We would like for it to be done in the shortest time possible," Ndwalaza said.
The matter has been put down provisionally for February 4 pending the SCA's ruling.