PORT ELIZABETH, October 8 – The defence lawyer representing a Nigerian pastor and his two alleged accomplices charged with human trafficking brought an application in the Port Elizabeth High Court on Monday to have a total of 63 charges and 34 alternative charges against them squashed.
The Nigerian pastor faces charges which include human trafficking, rape, sexual assault, racketeering and conspiracy in aiding another person to commit sexual assault.
The two women are accused of recruiting girls from all over the country for purposes of sexual exploitation.
The 58-year-old televangelist allegedly trafficked more than 30 girls and women who were from various branches of his church to a house in Umhlanga, KwaZulu-Natal, where he allegedly sexually exploited them.
He also faces charges of fraud and for being in the country illegally.
All three of the accused are being represented by Port Elizabeth attorney, Peter Daubermann.
Daubermann argued that the charge sheet provided by the State, was “fatally defective” and did not comply with the constitution.
“The accused are entitled to be informed of the charges with sufficient detail so the accused can answer for it. The indictment falls far short of meeting that requirement,” said Daubermann.
Daubermann argued that the indictment did not specify time or month and in some instances no year was specified for when an alleged offence was committed.
He said that the charge sheet did not comply with the law and should be struck out on the basis that it infringed upon the rights of his clients to a fair trial.
Daubermann went on to point out that on a specific count of rape allegedly committed in Israel, no time, nor date or specific location were provided by the State.
The prosecution argued that it had relied on information provided by the complainants.
Prosecutor Nceba Ntelwa said that on the issue of exact dates, the offences were committed on diverse occasions.
Ntelwa said that each allegation in the charge sheet showed how each of the accused were linked to the crimes.
The defence also brought another application requesting further particulars.
Daubermann argued that the State failed to provide the specific Acts in law on which it would rely on, to prove common purpose or conspiracy.
“To say there is sufficient detail is devoid of any substance and the State is obliged to reply.”
“What is the probability that not a single complainant could not calculate when an alleged offence was committed?,” Daubermann asked.
Meanwhile, congregants gathered outside the Port Elizabeth High Court on Monday in support of the man they affectionately refer to as “daddy”.
The pastor was arrested on April 20 last year, by the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, known as the Hawks, at the Port Elizabeth Airport.
According to the State, some of the alleged victims were as young as 13-years-old.
The pastor has been denied bail on two occasions, as he was deemed a flight risk. The women were arrested in November last year and are out on bail of R2 000.
Judge Mandela Makaula will hand down judgment in the applications later on Monday. (ANA)