Sparks fly in Timothy Omotoso trial between defence and judge



PORT ELIZABETH, October 15 – Sparks flew in the Port Elizabeth High Court on Monday between defence attorney Peter Daubermann and Judge Mandela Makaula in the human trafficking and rape trial of Nigerian pastor Timothy Omotoso.

Daubermann was cross-examining witness Cheryl Zondi on her second encounter with Omotoso after she claimed he sexually assaulted her at the age of 14 in his bedroom at a mission house in Umhlanga in Durban.

Daubermann asked her how many centimetres of Omotoso’s penis had penetrated her, to gasps of disbelief from the public gallery.

“How was she supposed to measure? I’m not going to allow that question,“ said Judge Makaula.

Daubermann accused the judge of hampering his cross-examination. Makaula proceeded to ask Zondi the question to which she responded “slightly, he took caution not to go all the way.”

Daubermann then referred to Zondi’s first statement made to the Hawks last year and said the contents differed in comparison to what she had testified in court.

“You never mentioned in your statement to police that he inserted his penis into your vaginal lips and rubbed your clitoris,” said Daubermann.

Zondi conceded that she left out some detail because she was traumatised. She said she had not wanted to recall the traumatic experience. She said she later divulged the finer details to the prosecutor during a consultation before trial.

“A traumatising experience has an effect on the mind. I’m not trying to be clever I’m being honest,” she said.

But Daubermann persisted with the question and pressed her as to why she had adapted her version when she had said she intended to divulge all the details to police.

A visibly agitated Judge Makaula again interjected and said: “I have been patient from the beginning up until now, I’m not going to allow you to ask unfair questions.”

“She said she did not want to remember,” said Judge Makaula.

Daubermann hit back and accused the judge of interfering with his cross-examination and answering questions for the witness.

Zondi again reiterated: “I knew that it happened but I didn’t want to talk about it,” she said while sobbing.

Daubermann wanted to know why in the indictment Omotoso was not charged with rape and nowhere did it mention the allegation of Omotoso rubbing her genital area.

Zondi told Daubermann he need not make administrative issues her problem.

Daubermann accused her of fabricating her evidence, adapting her version and lying about what happened.

“That is one of the most absurd things I have ever heard in my life…there is no question that he did it and multiple times,” said Zondi while staring at Omotoso.

The 58-year-old televangelist faces 63 charges including rape and racketeering.

He 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.

Alleged accomplices Lusanda Solani, 36 of Durban, and Zukiswa Sitho, 28, of Port Elizabeth, allegedly recruited girls all over the country and monitored their movements in the houses where they were being kept.

The trial continues.

-African News Agency (ANA)