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Nigerian cleric, Timothy Omotoso, ordered to face rape and sex trafficking trial by South Africa’s Appeal court

Crime

Nigerian cleric, Timothy Omotoso, ordered to face rape and sex trafficking trial by South Africa’s Appeal court

Pastor Timothy Omotoso is expected back in a South African court in Port Elizabeth on Friday as his rape and sex trafficking trial continues, local media reports said.

The Nigerian cleric is facing a string of charges including rape, sexual assault, human trafficking and racketeering.

The Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) on Monday dismissed a petition brought by Timothy Omotoso and his co-accused.

Omotoso and his co-defendants, Lusanda Sulani and Zukiswa Sitho, brought the petition to the SCA after Port Elizabeth high court judge Irma Schoeman dismissed their earlier application for leave to appeal her decision that the case could be heard in Port Elizabeth.

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Defence attorney for the trio, Peter Daubemann, argued that the Port Elizabeth court did not have the authority to hear the entire matter as some of the alleged offences took place elsewhere in the country and abroad.

Daubermann claimed that the authorisation certificate to centralise the case was invalid and lacked vital information including details of the alleged offences.

Schoeman dismissed the application citing that the directive from the National Director of Public Prosecutions was valid and in line with the provisions set out in the Criminal Procedures Act.

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Omotoso, Sulani and Sitho face 97 charges including 63 main charges and 34 alternative counts, ranging from human trafficking, rape and sexual assault.

They have not yet pleaded.

Daubermann claimed that the authorisation certificate to centralise the case was invalid and lacked vital information including details of the alleged offences.

Schoeman dismissed the application citing that the directive from the National Director of Public Prosecutions was valid and in line with the provisions set out in the Criminal Procedures Act.

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The defence went on appeal at the Supreme Court of appeal. The court is expected to deliver judgment today.

Omotoso was arrested at the Port Elizabeth International Airport in 2017. He and his co-accused are yet to take a plea.

Since Schoeman took over from Judge Mandela Makaula to preside over proceedings that started afresh in July, there have been at least six postponements.

Omotoso is the senior pastor of a Jesus Dominion International, based in Durban. He is now in prison.

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