Jurisdiction ruling another blow for Omotoso
Publish date: 12 August 2019
Issue Number: 836
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
Nigerian pastor Timothy Omotoso and his co-accused – charged with human trafficking and the recruitment and rape of young girls – experienced another setback in the Eastern Cape High Court (Port Elizabeth) when Judge Irma Schoeman dismissed an application involving their plea of no jurisdiction in relation to the string of charges. A report on the IoL site notes that defence Advocate Peter Daubermann had brought the application, arguing that the High Court had the jurisdiction to only hear seven rape and sexual assault charges which allegedly occurred in Port Elizabeth. The trio pleaded not guilty to these seven charges but entered a plea of no jurisdiction in respect of the remainder of the charges. Omotoso faces 63 main charges, while co-accused Lusanda Sulani faces 35 charges and Zukiswa Sitho 16 main charges. Daubermann argued that the court did not have jurisdiction to try Omotoso and his co-accused for offences which allegedly occurred in Durban, Richards Bay and Bloemfontein, among other areas. Schoeman highlighted that Daubermann had written a letter to the National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP)consenting to the charges in January last year. Schoeman said at the time Daubermann did not object to the letter centralising the charges. Essentially, Schoeman ruled the NDPP letter and its wording valid. After Schoeman gave reasons for her ruling, Daubermann immediately indicated that he planned to make an application for leave to appeal Schoeman’s ruling. He requested a postponement to obtain a copy of the judgment and to formulate grounds seeking leave to appeal. The case was postponed until next week.