Omotoso retrial haggles as defence demands more details of charges

2019-07-31 15:32
Pastor Timothy Omotoso (Lulama Zenzile, Netwerk24)

Pastor Timothy Omotoso (Lulama Zenzile, Netwerk24)

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Lawyers representing rape-accused pastor Timothy Omotoso continued to argue for the full details of the charges against their client and his two co-accused on Wednesday.

This comes after the trial was postponed as soon as it began on Tuesday after the defence sought a postponement. Defence advocate Peter Daubermann asked presiding Judge Irma Schoeman to postpone the case, saying that the State had delayed filing particulars pertaining to the charges.

The trial of Omotoso and co-accused, Lusanda Lusani and Zukiswa Sitho, was supposed to start afresh before Schoeman on Tuesday after the previous judge, Judge Mandela Makaula, recused himself in March. 

On Wednesday, Daubermann again addressed the court about compelling the State to furnish details of where and when the alleged offences took place so that they could prepare to defend their clients.

Daubermann argued that the indictment presented to the defence says the precise dates of the alleged offences were not known.

"The indictment should be specific as to whether the precise dates are unknown to the prosecutor," said Daubermann.

"We don’t know to whom the precise dates are unknown, whether to the state or the accused," he argued.

"Why can’t the state provide approximate dates, if they don’t have or know the precise dates?"

Judge Schoeman asked if the witness statements speak of dates and related details, Daubermann replied, "No, they don't."

He claimed the State did not know when or where the offences took place.

Daubermann requested the court order the State to handover the charge details, referring to case law of the State v Mpetha, 1981.

'Defence was satisfied previously'

The State, represented by advocate Nceba Ntelwa, responded that the application was not new. It was tabled in the previous case and the defence was furnished with details that were sufficient to them.

"They were satisfied with details provided to them and made no further case to gain access to further details," said Ntelwa.

"The Supreme Court of Appeals and the Constitutional Court denied them the opportunity to present their case.

"The defence was told by the courts there were no prospects of success on their application."

Schoeman said she will not go into details from the previous trial.

The matter was adjourned to Thursday afternoon at 14:00, for judgment on the application to compel the State to release more charge details.

Meanwhile, witness Cheryl Zondi, whose emotional testimony gripped the nation in October last year, previously said she was prepared to take the stand again to testify against her alleged abuser "until justice is served".

The three accused are facing 97 charges, including rape, human trafficking and racketeering.

*This story has been updated.

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