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Omotoso trial: Acquittal application dismissed

Timothy Omotoso, Zukiswa Sitho and Lusanda Sulani.


Senior state advocate Joel Cesar gave Nigerian pastor, Timothy Omotoso and his two co-accused a bloody nose in the Gqeberha High Court on Tuesday, after their application to have the charges against them withdrawn, was dismissed.

In her ruling, Judge Irma Schoeman, also dismissed nearly half of the 63 charges against the trio, on account of the state not leading any evidence to prove otherwise.

However, they will still stand trial on more than 30 charges that include rape, sexual assault, and human trafficking.

Defence attorney Peter Daubermann brought the application at the close of the state's case, arguing that entire trial, which began in 2018, and the evidence of the complainants, were tainted by prosecutorial misconduct.

He was referring to the former state prosecutor, Advocate Nceba Ntwelwa, who according to him had allegedly encouraged witnesses to perjure themselves on the stand.

Dauberman dubbed Ntelwa the 'Minister of Untruths' and said that his gross misconduct was so pervasive that it destroyed his clients right to get a fair trial.

In delivering her judgment, Schoeman said she could not find that the conduct of Ntelwa had rendered the trial unfair.

Although Ntelwa's conduct was contrary to the principles required of a prosecutor, according to Schoeman, her final analysis determined that it related solely to the evidence of one witness.

"I am of the view that in respect of the other charges, there is a prima facie case made out that the accused have to answer.

"There was no argument to the contrary," Schoeman said.

Members of Omotoso's church have been supporting him by attending court since the start of his trial.

On Tuesday, members of the ANC Women's League led a march outside court, in support of Omotoso's alleged victims. 

MEC for Social Development in the Eastern Cape, Bukiwe Fanta welcomed Schoeman's judgment. 

The three-man prosecution team comprising of Cesar, who is the Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions in Bhisho, and advocates Luvuyo Pomolo and Mduduzi Mzila took over from Ntelwa three weeks before the last date of the trial.

The case was postponed to 13 November.