8 September 2017

South Africa: Omotoso's Second Bail Application Denied

Photo: Nosipiwo Manona/Premium Times
Nigerian Pastor Timothy Omotoso escorted by South African police (file photo).

The charismatic Nigerian pastor Timothy Omotoso failed to present any new facts to the Port Elizabeth Magistrate's Court in his second bail application, and will therefore remain behind bars for now.

Magistrate Thandeka Mashiyi, who presided over both of Omotoso's bail applications, found that the Durban-based televangelist's new legal counsel, headed by Advocate Alwyn Rossouw SC, had failed to present any new facts to the court.

The 59-year-old pastor is facing charges of human trafficking, sexual assault and the rape of young girls.

Mashiyi further found that Rossouw's arguments that Omotoso's status was that of a legal immigrant, that he had a fixed address and the affidavit submitted regarding the pastor's charitable work and the impact his incarceration has had, did not amount to exceptional circumstances.

No new facts

Mashiyi said the letter from the department of home affairs director general, dated August 14, submitted by Rossouw that stated that Omotoso's current work permit was considered valid, was not a new fact.

"I disagree. The letter merely serves as a reminder that the permit he is in possession of expires," she said.

Mashiyi said the argument that the Eastern Cape High Court in Port Elizabeth's decision to grant an order to have Omotoso escorted to apply for his new permit, did not ratify his status as a legal immigrant, but merely that he had the right to apply to have his permit renewed, and that the decision on his status would be determined by Home Affairs on processing his application.

Character witness

Rossouw also presented the court with a character reference, which detailed how the pastor was actively involved in communities around the country through his televangelist work and as the head of the Timothy Omotoso Global Outreach programme.

Rossouw listed numerous initiatives in Durban, Port Elizabeth and elsewhere, including feeding schemes, orphanages and old age homes, where Omotoso had been involved.

Mashiyi said when questioned by the court why this had not been submitted in the first bail application, Omotoso's defence had alluded to time constraints.

She found that there was no merit to this argument, as throughout the first bail application the defence had never placed on record that they had been ill-equipped to present its case or requested more time to prepare.

Mashiyi said she could not understand why this information had not been placed before the court in the first application, as Omotoso had chosen to supply an affidavit in his defence and could have easily included the information there.

She also ruled that the argument relating to Omotoso's address had been dealt with extensively in the first application so there was nothing new in Rossouw's submissions.

"It is my conclusion that the applicant has failed to present any new facts in this matter," she said.

NPA happy with outcome

National Prosecuting Authority, Tshepo Ndwalaza, said they were happy with the outcome of the second bail application.

"As the NPA we feel vindicated. We feel we have been able to convince the court this man must not get bail. He has a case to answer for in the court of law."

Hundreds of the pastor's supporters once again gathered outside in support of the televangelist, while members of the African National Congress also gathered to call for his bail to be denied.

Access to the court was strictly monitored, with reporters having to submit their names in writing to secure a seat in court.

When Omotoso's wife, Taiwo, accompanied by her personal entourage and security, left the court she was again surrounded by ANC members, who chanted "No bail no bail".

Omotoso's case has been remanded to November 1 for further investigation.

A second case relating to his immigration status, which was brought against him during his second bail application, was also remanded to November 1, for the director of public prosecutors to make a decision on whether the cases should be merged or heard separately.

Source: News24

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