News Brief
Via SABC livestream

The Omotoso Rape Trial Will Have to Begin from Scratch

The presiding judge, Mandela Makaula, has officially recused himself.

The rape trial involving Nigerian televangelist of the Jesus Dominion International Church,Timothy Omotoso, has been riddled with postponements. Omotoso is currently facing 63 charges for human trafficking, rape and sexual assault. However, more than just a mere postponement this time, the trial will have to begin from scratch after Judge Mandela Makaula recused himself.


Omotoso's defence attorney, Pieter Daubermann, filed an application for Judge Makaula to recuse himself as he described Makaula as being biased, overly sympathetic and protective of the first witness to testify, Cheryl Zondi. Many South Africans following the trial found Daubermann's cross-examination of Zondi tactless and distasteful and that Makaula was not biased but instead displaying humanity to an already traumatized rape victim.

READ: The Omotoso Rape Trial Shows Why South African Women are in Crisis

However, it has emerged that several witnesses that are set to take the stand during the trial were staying at a guesthouse owned by Makaula's wife. A spokesperson of the court has said that Makaula was unaware that the witnesses were in fact being housed by his wife.

Judge Makaula gives further reasons for his recusal via the SABC's live stream below:

Omotoso Rape Trial, 15 March 2019 www.youtube.com

The implications of Makaula recusing himself are grave. Cheryl Zondi, who was subjected to tremendous emotional trauma not only in court but in the eyes of the general public, will have to testify yet again. This is just one of the many ways that the justice system fails South African women and re-traumatizes them in the process.

Music
Image: Ian Watts

The New Fela Kuti Box Set is Curated by Femi Kuti & Chris Martin

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