Omotoso Judge Agrees To Recuse Himself

Nigerian pastor Timothy Omotoso appearing at the Port Elizabeth High court on October 8 2018. PICTURE: Eugene Coetzee/The Herald

EAST LONDON: Omotoso’s trial is set to take a twist as Judge Mandela Makaula is set to recuse himself from the matter in March.

According to News24, Omotoso’s lawyer Peter Daubermann confirmed that Makaula has agreed to recuse himself from the case and will provide reasons for the recusal on 15 March.

Daubermann said that he had a meeting with the state as well as Makaula in his chambers on Wednesday afternoon, where he agreed to Daubermann’s request to remove him from presiding over the trial.

“The judge has further agreed that his decision to recuse himself may be published,” Daubermann said.

In a letter to the Director of Public Prosecutions in the Eastern Cape Daubermann alleges that the State informed Omotoso’s defence team that during the trial, certain state witnesses stayed in a guesthouse owned by Makaula.

He further alleges that the guest house is indirectly owned by Makaula, through a company.

“Our clients, for obvious reasons, stand aghast at the said revelations and their perception of bias on the part of Makaula J. has been compounded thereby,” Daubermann said in the letter.

The letter ends, stating that in the circumstances, as a matter of courtesy, Daubermann intends to request that “Makaula recuse himself from presiding in the matter mero motu (of one’s own accord) in the interest of justice.”

Omotoso and his co-accused, Lusanda Sulani and Zukiswa Sitho, are facing 63 charges and 34 alternative charges, which include rape, sexual assault, and racketeering.