South Africa: Omotoso Back in Court Over Request for Judge to Recuse Himself

Video screenshot of Nigerian pastor Timothy Omotoso and his two co-accused Zukiswa Sitho and Lusanda Sulani in court.
10 December 2018

Pastor Timothy Omotoso is back in the High Court in Port Elizabeth on Monday to hear if the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) has made an order on whether to grant his application for Judge Mandela Makaula to recuse himself from the case.

Makuala in October previously rejected the defence's two applications for leave to appeal his ruling that he won't recuse himself, citing that there were "no reasonable prospects of success".

Defence advocate Peter Daubermann accused Makuala of "being biased" following the testimony of first witness Cheryl Zondi, and approached the SCA over the decision in November.

It is not yet clear if the SCA has come to a final decision on whether to grant Daubermann's request. If the SCA grants the request, proceedings will then begin to appoint a new judge to hear the case, with the case stood down to the new year.

If not, the court could either decide to proceed with the trial, or to postpone proceedings again to a new date in the new year. The court will go on recess at the end of this week.

Either way, Omotoso will likely spend his second Christmas behind bars, having first been arrested in April 2017 and denied bail.

Omotoso and his two co-accused Lusanda Sulani and Zukiswa Sitho face 63 charges and 34 alternative charges, which include rape and sexual assault..

The defence accused Judge Makaula of protecting Zondi as well as making questionable judgements when he wished Zondi well for her examinations.

"The grounds for my recusal are dubious," Makaula said in response.

"It is ridiculous in the extreme to assume that I had accepted Miss Zondi's version of events before the accused has testified. I am taken aback by this argument, there is nothing to suggest that I was consoling Miss Zondi."

Source: News24

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