Port Elizabeth - Nigerian pastor Timothy Omotoso and his co-accused charged with human trafficking and the recruitment and rape of young girls were dealt another blow in the Port Elizabeth High Court on Tuesday when Judge Irma Schoeman dismissed an application involving their plea of no jurisdiction in relation to the string of charges.
Defence advocate Peter Daubermann had brought the application arguing that the Port Elizabeth 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 amongst other areas.
Sulani and Sitho are accused of recruiting girls from all over the country for purposes of sexual exploitation.
Daubermann did not accept a directive from the National Director Of Public Prosecution (NDPP) to centralise the charges which allegedly occurred in other cities.