Senior Port Elizabeth advocate Terry Price SC stepped into the spotlight in the Timothy Omotoso rape trial on Thursday, when he argued that the charge sheet against the flamboyant Nigerian pastor was an abomination.
Price was arguing two issues in the Port Elizabeth High Court – first, he was appealing against judge Mandela Makaula’s decision not to quash the charges and, second, his refusal to recuse himself.
Makaula said he found the defence had failed dismally to prove grounds for him to recuse himself, including allegations that he had already decided to convict and sentence, and that he was overtly sympathetic and prejudiced, among other claims.
Omotoso, 60, and his co-accused Lusanda Sulani, 36, brought the application on Monday for Makaula to recuse himself after he excused Cheryl Zondi from the witness stand and wished her well for her university exams.
Presenting grounds for Makaula to grant leave to appeal against the decision not to recuse himself, Price said that when the judge excused Zondi it was his utterances after wishing her well with her exams which could lead to the perception that he was being biased or siding with her.
He also said the 63 main and 34 alternative charges against Omotoso, Sulani and third accused Zukiswa Sitho, 28, were not clear or concise.
Price said the Criminal Procedure Act and the constitution were clear that an accused had to be furnished with a charge sheet containing times, dates and nature of offence to build a proper defence.
“This is probably one of the worst charge sheets I have ever seen,” he said.
Price said he wanted the matter regarding the quashing of the charges to be heard in the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein to get another opinion on the validity of the charge sheet and its contents.
Senior prosecutor advocate Nceba Ntelwa said the defence’s application for Makaula to recuse himself was baseless, showing no grounds of bias. He said he believed the defence’s submissions on the quashing of the charges were merely a delaying ploy.
Makaula is expected to make a ruling on both applications on Tuesday.