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Nigerian televangelist Timothy Omotoso’s application for mistrial dismissed



The defence for the 65-year-old Omotoso made an application to judge Irma Schoeman to reconsider her previous judgment.

Rape accused Nigerian televangelist Timothy Omotoso and his two co-accused Lusanda Sulani and Zukiswa Sitho have been dealt a blow after their application for five special entries for a mistrial was dismissed.

The trio appeared in the Eastern Cape High Court in Gqeberha where the ruling was handed down.

Peter Daubermann, the defence attorney for the 65-year-old leader of the Jesus Dominion International (JDI) made an application to Judge Irma Schoeman to reconsider her previous judgment on the application for discharge according to Section 174 of the Criminal Procedure Act.

Main trial

However, the court only allowed the entries of irregularities about the conduct of the former prosecutor and his supervisors, but ordered that they be dealt with at the end of the trial.

National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) regional spokesperson Luxolo Tyali said the matter has now been postponed to 24 June to 05 July 2024 for the main trial to proceed.

“Schoeman had previously dismissed their application for discharge, and the state was ready to proceed with the remaining proceedings in the trial, meaning that the accused must present their case and they will be subject to cross-examination by the state. The trio are facing 32 charges, which include racketeering, trafficking in persons for sexual purposes, rape and sexual assault.”

According to Daubermann, Schoeman acted irregularly when she refused to call the prosecutors, who were previously either directly and indirectly involved with the case, to testify under oath or be subject to cross-examination.

This follows allegations of misconduct by two previous prosecutors, advocates Nceba Ntelwa and Ishmet Cerfontein.

The allegations stem from Ntelwa allegedly telling a witness not to deviate from her police statement, where she did not mention an alleged rape, although she informed Cerfontein about it.

ALSO READ: Rape-accused Timothy Omotoso’s trial resumes


The trial has experienced numerous delays since the arrest of the Nigerian pastor by the Hawks in April 2017.

The delays caused some witnesses to no longer want to proceed with giving evidence as they indicated they have since moved on with their lives and are not interested in reliving their experiences in court including a different prosecutor and judge being appointed.

That led to the reduction of the charges from 63. Omotoso, who was denied bail while the two South African women he is charged with are out on bail, is now facing charges 32 counts, including racketeering, trafficking in persons, rape, and sexual assault.


It is alleged that Omotoso, who was addressed as “the man of God”, was the leader of the JDI church and his co-accused were his assistants. JDI had major branches in Nigeria, Israel and South Africa, with Durban being its headquarters in the country.

Tyali said the victims were either congregants, employees or persons selected to take part in the activities of the church when they were recruited under the pretext that they would benefit spiritually or improve the quality of their lives.

“Omotoso allegedly directly or indirectly through his co-accused, paid and arranged for the complainants to travel to his hotel, Durban, Israel, or Nigeria. However, once the complainants arrived, Omotoso or his assistants would inform them of house rules which included that their cellphones be switched off or told not to contact male companions and were to further abide by his instructions.

“The complainants and other female church members were allegedly kept in one room where they also slept. Omotoso would allegedly select one of the complainants to go to his private bedroom where he raped or sexually assaulted them,” Tyali said.

Tyali added that the state remains committed to ensuring that the case is finalised as soon as possible so that justice is served for the victims.

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