The third week of the rape trial of controversial pastor Timothy Omotoso has kicked off on a dramatic note. His lawyer has presented a litany of complaints to the Eastern Cape High Court in Port Elizabeth, saying that the judiciary and Law Society of South Africa have failed to come to his defence, while his clients fear for their safety.
Advocate Peter Daubermann said Omotoso’s co-accused – Lusanda Solani and Zukiswa Sitho – had previously stayed away from court, together with their supporters and families, due to safety concerns.
He added that he had been chased by an unruly mob on Friday and that water was thrown at him.
“My clients were subjected to close contact with crowds.”
He said Omotoso’s wife, Taiwo, had also not been able to attend proceedings previously for similar reasons.
‘In interest of justice’
Daubermann told the court that he didn’t usually respond to media reports, but that he felt he needed to in this case.
“I am forced to respond solely on the basis of my clients’ free trial,” he said.
“I am not doing so to defend myself. It is in the interest of justice.”
Daubermann explained that, “for the record, I support women’s rights 100% in this country”.
Vilified over questioning
He said he had been vilified for his cross-examination of witness Cheryl Zondi.
“I have been called a rapist myself. A question has been posed on how I can possibly ask the questions I have asked. I have been called aggressive and accused of brow-beating the witness,” said Daubermann.
He said he had also been accused of asking irrelevant questions.
Daubermann denied that he was ever reprimanded for his line of questioning by the judge.
This was, however, disputed by Judge Mandela Makaula, who reminded Daubermann that he had reprimanded him on two occasions.
He ordered that Solani and Sitho must be escorted into court.
Daubermann’s request that Makaula recuse himself, over what he termed questionable judgments regarding the case, was denied.
“Suffice to say, the application has no merit. The application has been denied,” said Makaula.
Concerns have been raised that Daubermann plans to derail the case this week, after an Instagram post emerged over the weekend.
Luvuyo Bangazi, who works for the Mandela Bay Development Agency, posted on the site that he had overheard the advocate speaking to an unidentified person.
“The conversation was about the strategy Daubermann would use this week on the case,” Bangazi wrote.
He said he couldn’t help but approach the lawyer, as what he heard had disturbed him.
News24 has also reliably learnt that one of Daubermann’s planned strategies is to have the media gagged.
Sources told News24 that plans are underway to file an application to bar the media from reporting on the case.
The case is continuing.