Omotoso Trial: Badgering, heated exchanges between lawyer, witness and judge

Cheryl Zondi, 22, weeps as she testifies during the trial against controversial Nigerian pastor Timothy Omotoso (Gallo Images / Netwerk24 / Lulama Zenzile, file)
Cheryl Zondi, 22, weeps as she testifies during the trial against controversial Nigerian pastor Timothy Omotoso (Gallo Images / Netwerk24 / Lulama Zenzile, file)

Rape accused Timothy Omotoso's lawyer Peter Daubermann had heated exchanges with both presiding Judge Mandela Makaula and witness Cheryl Zondi during cross-examination in court A of the Eastern Cape High Court in Port Elizabeth on Monday.

Daubermann had made several claims implying that Zondi, 22, was a willing participant in the rape and molestation she allegedly suffered at the hands of Omotoso. The lawyer said Zondi had options to leave or report what happened to her at the time.

"Why didn't you tell your mother?" he asked.

"You went back to the safety of your mother's house. Secunda is many hours away from Durban," said Daubermann.

Makaula repeatedly objected to Daubermann's line of questioning.

Zondi, who was allegedly raped by the "man of God" from when she was 14 years old, told Daubermann several times that she was a child when the incidents took place.

'Why did you not scream?'

"Can't you work out the exact time?" shouted Daubermann in apparent frustration at Zondi's failure to remember the dates on which she was raped.

Zondi said she could not remember because she suffered from severe depression and that it had affected her memory.

He asked if she wanted to make an impression on Omotoso when she went to the Durban church.

READ: ‘We would be at his mercy’ – witness on living in rape-accused Omotoso’s house

Daubermann also asked why Zondi did not scream during the sexual attack.

"Didn't you realise that if you screamed, somebody would hear you."

"Why did you not scream when he was busy with this act?"

'You didn't say anything to anyone'

Zondi responded that she could not think about screaming because she was in shock and almost paralysed by fear.

"You allowed him to continue," said Daubermann.

Zondi explained that she was scared of opposing him because he was "a man of God".

"You carried on as if nothing had happened; you didn't say anything to anyone," said Daubermann.

Daubermann then asked Zondi how many centimetres into her vagina Omotoso pushed his penis.

Makaula intervened once more and this led to another heated exchange between the two. 

'You accepted the risk of being raped'

Makaula told Daubermann that if he was unhappy with being reprimanded, he should use his options, as he was permitted to do so by law.

Yet another heated exchange ensued between the two men when Daubermann alluded to Zondi being prepared to be raped when she went back to Durban.

"When you went to Durban you knew that there was a risk of being raped and you accepted the risk of being raped by agreeing to go there again.

"You voluntarily went back," said Daubermann.

Makaula warned the lawyer again and told him that he would not allow the question to be asked of the witness.

Daubermann argued that the judge was interfering in his defence case.

The court was adjourned. The matter will resume on Tuesday morning. 

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