Omotoso trial: Judge rapped for showing sympathy to Cheryl Zondi

Omotoso trial: Judge rapped for showing sympathy to Cheryl Zondi

16 October 2018 – The state’s first witness in the case against televangelist Pastor Timothy Omotoso returned to the stand in the Port Elizabeth High Court on Tuesday. Cheryl Zondi, 22, has previously testified about how she had allegedly been sexually molested as a teenager by Omotoso. Prosecutor Nceba Ntelwa (left) with Cheryl Zondi. Picture Werner Hills
Peter Dauberman‚ the lawyer representing rape-accused Nigerian pastor Timothy Omotoso‚ has asked presiding officer Judge Mandela Makaula to recuse himself from the case.

“I have instructions to ask your Lordship to recuse yourself from the trial. I am going to place certain remarks that your Lordship made under scrutiny.”

Dauberman told the court that his clients‚ Omotoso and his co-accused‚ want Makaula to excuse himself from the trial and allow another judge to take over.

Omotoso‚ 60‚ and his co-accused Lusanda Sulani‚ 36‚ and Zukiswa Sitho‚ 28‚ face a litany of charges ranging from human trafficking to sexual assault and rape.

In an affidavit read out in court‚ Omotoso said Makaula’s comments‚ wishing state witness Cheryl Zondi well for her exams‚ were biased against him. She is a University of Johannesburg marketing student.

“The presiding officer has already made up his mind… he is sympathetic towards Zondi and her cause. He identified [with] and aligned himself to Zondi’s cause‚” Omotoso says in the affidavit.

“He has already decided to mete justice on behalf of Zondi. He is biased in favour of Zondi and the prosecution. He is and will not be impartial‚” Omotoso claimed.

He added that he has not received a fair trial from Makaula.

Dauberman said Sulani shared Omotoso’s sentiments.