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Timothy Omotoso case continues in the Port Elizabeth High Court

Pastor Timothy Omotoso. File picture
Pastor Timothy Omotoso. File picture
Image: Eugene Coetzee

State and defence square off in Port Elizabeth High Court following an application by Omotoso for the state to provide further particulars to the 97 charges against him and his two co-accused.

Allegations that the state was withholding vital information to allow the defence team of alleged sex pest Nigerian pastor Timothy Omotoso to prepare a fair defence and that a vague charge sheet was being used to prosecute him and his two co-accused were made in the Port Elizabeth High Court on Wednesday.

Claims by defence attorney Peter Daubermann on behalf of Omotoso, 60, and his co-accused Lusanda Sulani, 36, and Zukiswa Sitho, 28, that the state did not bother to investigate and determine specific dates and placed of claims of alleged rape and human trafficking of at least 21 young women were some of the main reasons for Daubermann to file an application to the court to make an order to compel the state to provide further particulars to the 97 charges the trio face ranging from rape to human trafficking and racketeering.

"The state did not bother to get the information.

"The state did not bother to investigate further to the detriment of [Omotoso and his co-accused]," Daubermann said.

According to Daubermann the state has in its possession the details of when and where the alleged offences took place but that they had refused to supply the defence with this.

"Had proper information been supplied the defence could prepare a defence argument and prepare an alibi from the onset.

"The state can not simply say on or about 2001 and 2010 an offence occurred where [Omotoso allegedly] raped a complainant," Daubermann said.

Dressed in his usual flamboyant attire Omotoso entered the dock from the holding cells sporting a shiny maroon jacket and clutching a bible while his supports cheered and called out "my general", "my daddy".

From the onset of the trial Omotoso's defence council had brought a number of applications to have the charges quashed, for further particulars to be furnished to the defence and for Makaula to recuse himself.

In March Makaula made the decision to recuse himself prompting Eastern Cape judge president Selby Mbenenge to make an order that the trial would start afresh before a new judge on July 30 and would run its course.

On Wednesday state prosecutor Nceba Ntelwa told the court that the state had provided the defence with sufficient information and that there was no more particulars they could provide.

"This is not the first time the defence is on the attack.

"[During the initial trial] we supplied [the defence] with the information they requested and they were happy.

"There was no application to compel the state to provide further particulars [at the time].

"The specifics [the defence] required could not be given because we did not have it," Ntelwa said referring to a previous application by the defence to provide further details.

Ntelwa said the source of the information pertaining to the charges was obtained from the complainants in the matter and from that information the state formulated the charges set out.

"At the heart and soul of charges is to inform the accused of the charges the state intends to bring [against the accused].

"The type of information required [by the defence] does not advance the interests of justice as the Constitutional Court found," Ntelwa said.

Daubermann claimed it was sloppy work by the state in as much that they could have used cellphone records to place the alleged victims at certain places at specific times.

These claims were not canvased by Ntelwa in his arguments.

Meanwhile outside the court a larger group of supporters of Omotoso and those supporting the alleged victims gathered on opposite sides of the cordoned off road in front of the courthouse in Bird Street.

After hearing arguments from both sides Schoeman said she would make a ruling regarding requested order of Thursday at 2pm.

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