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

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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.

Crime

India police arrest Pigeon on suspicion of being a Pakistan spy

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India police arrest Pigeon on suspicion of being a Pakistan spy

The India police have arrested a pigeon on suspicion that it is a trained spy for Pakistan.

Indian officials said that the pink painted bird carrying a “coded message,” attached to its foot was alleged to have flown from across the border that separates Indian and Pakistan-controlled parts of Kashmir, according to reports.

Villagers living close to the border in Manyari turned the pigeon over to authorities after catching it along the border, Sky News reported.

Geeta Devi, a resident of the Kathua district of Indian-administered Kashmir, reported that the bird flew into her home Sunday night. Police logged the animal as a “Pak Suspected Spy” and launched an investigation to decipher the message, the outlet reported.

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“We don’t know where the bird has come from. Locals on our side captured it near our fence,” Kathua police’s senior superintendent Shailendra Mishra told the Times of India.

“The pigeon, suspected to be trained in Pakistan for spying, has a ring with letters and numbers written on it,” a police source said.

“Though birds have no boundaries and many fly across international borders during migration, a coded ring tagged to the captured pigeon’s body is a cause of concern as migratory birds have no such rings,” the source added.

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However, in an update, a Pakistani villager has urged Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to return his pigeon, currently being held in India on charges of spying.

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The man identified as Habibullah, who lives just 4km (2.5 miles) from the border, said he flew his pigeons to celebrate Eid festival.

This is not the first time birds have reportedly been used for espionage in the disputed territory in the past.

In 2016, the Indian police arrested a pigeon that was found carrying a warning note to Prime Minister Narendra Modi near the nation’s heavily militarized border with Pakistan.

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In 2013, Indian security forces found a dead falcon fitted with a small camera, and in 2010 another pigeon was detained over spying fears.

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Police arraign man, 26, over alleged fraud

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The police on Friday arraigned a 26-year-old man, Ilesanmi Ojo, before an Ado-Ekiti Chief Magistrates’ Court over alleged fraud.

The defendant of no fixed address is standing trial on a count charge of the alleged fraud.

The prosecutor, Insp. Oriyomi Akinwale told the court that the defendant committed the offense sometimes in the month of Dec. 2019 at Onala area in Ado-Ekiti.

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He alleged that the defendant, a mechanic, fraudulently obtained the sum of N155,000 from one Pastor Olusegun Olufowose to repair his Sienna vehicle.

Akinwale also alleged that the defendant duplicated the key of a Nissan Pathfinder Jeep with Reg. No. WWW 852 AE, belonging to the complainant without his consent.

He said the offenses contravened Sections 421 and 508 of the Criminal Code, Laws of Ekiti State, 2012.

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The prosecutor asked the court for an adjournment to enable him to study the case file and assemble his witnesses.

The defendant pleaded not guilty.

His counsel, Mr. Olarewaju Oluwasola, urged the court to grant his client bail, with a promise that he would not jump bail.

The Chief Magistrate, Mrs. Olanike Adegoke, granted bail to the defendant in the sum of N100,000 with two sureties in like sum.

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She adjourned the case until June 24 for hearing.

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Crime

You have case to answer, court tells mechanic accused of manslaughter

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An Ikeja High Court on Friday told a mechanic, Taiwo Adeyemi, accused of killing a colleague during a physical scuffle, that he had to defend the manslaughter charge filed against him by the Lagos State Government.

Justice Hakeem Oshodi, delivering a ruling on a no-case submission filed by defence counsel, Mr Adetokunbo Agoro, said the prosecution for the state had presented sufficient evidence before the court to warrant Adeyemi putting up a defence.

According to reports the ruling on the no-case submission was originally slated to have been delivered on May 4 but was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Delivering the ruling online, Justice Oshodi said: “From the evidence laid before the court by the prosecution, there has been no evidence that has been discredited by the defence.

“There is, however, ample evidence on the face of the court’s record which is legally admissible, that links the defendant to the deceased.

“There cannot be any dispute that death occurred after a fight. The defendant is said to be the other party of the fight.

“From the written submission of the defence counsel, he believes that there is no documentary and prima facie case laid out by the prosecution and that the evidence of the first and second prosecution witnesses are hearsay.

“To the court, the prosecution has made out a prima facie case for the defendant to face. Accordingly, the defendant is now called upon to open his defence.”

Following the ruling, the judge adjourned the case until July 27 for defence.

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Reports have it that Adeyemi is charged with manslaughter contrary to Section 227 of the Criminal Law of Lagos 2011.

He was arraigned at the High Court on June 5, 2017.

According to the prosecution led by Mr M.T. Adewoye, the defendant committed the offence at 1.00 p.m. on April 4, 2014, at a mechanic’s shed, located at Ashade Market, Mangoro, Agege, Lagos.

“The defendant had an argument with the deceased, Sikiru Oladeinde; during the scuffle, he hit the deceased with a plank that had nails attached to it.

“Oladeinde sustained some injuries and passed away some days later in hospital,” the prosecutor said.

During the trial, three witnesses testified on behalf of the prosecution — a welder and co-worker of the deceased, Mr Olujimi Ogunleye; the brother of the deceased, Mr Kehinde Oladeinde; and the Investigating Police Officer (IPO), Sgt. Felix Osunbu.

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