PORT ELIZABETH, October 8 – The Port Elizabeth High Court on Monday dismissed an application to have 63 charges against a Nigerian pastor ranging relating to trafficking young women for the sex trade squashed.
Judge Mandela Makaula did not furnish reasons but said he would provide reasons in his final judgment.
Defence lawyer Peter Daubermann brought the application earlier on Monday at the commencement of the much anticipated criminal trial.
Daubermann is representing the Nigerian pastor and his two alleged accomplices charged with human trafficking.
The Nigerian pastor faces charges which include human trafficking, rape, sexual assault racketeering and conspiracy in aiding another person to commit sexual assault.
The two women are accused of trafficking girls from all over the country for purposes of sexual exploitation.
The trio have yet to plead to the charges against them.
The 58-year-old televangelist allegedly trafficked more than 30 girls and women who were from various branches of his church to a house in Umhlanga, KwaZulu-Natal, where he allegedly sexually exploited them.
He also faces charges of fraud and for being in the country illegally.
Daubermann argued that the charge sheet provided by the State, was “fatally defective” and did not comply with the constitution.
“The accused are entitled to be informed of the charges with sufficient detail so the accused can answer for it. The indictment falls far short of meeting that requirement,” said Daubermann.
Daubermann argued that the indictment did not specify time, months and in some instances no year was specified of when an alleged offence was committed.
Daubermann said that the charge sheet did not comply with the law and stood to be struck out on the basis that it infringes upon the accused‘ right to a fair trial.
Daubermann went on to point out that on a specific count of rape allegedly committed in Israel, no time, no date or specific location was provided by the state.
The prosecution argued that it had relied on information provided by the complainants.
Prosecutor Nceba Ntelwa said that on the issue of exact dates, the offences were committed on diverse occasions.
Ntelwa said that each allegation in the charge sheet showed how each accused were linked to the crimes.
The defence also brought another application requesting for further particulars.
Daubermann argued that the State failed to provide the specific Act in law it would rely on to prove common purpose or conspiracy.
“To say there is sufficient detail is devoid of any details and the State is obliged to reply.”
“What is the probability that not a single complainant could not calculate when an alleged offence was committed,” Daubermann argued.
Subsequent to the dismissal of the application on Monday, Daubermann brought another application requesting for further particulars of each count. Further particulars include the date, time or specific location of where the alleged offence took place.
The State is expected to respond to the application on Tuesday.
The pastor was arrested on April 20, last year, by the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, known as the Hawks, at the Port Elizabeth Airport.
According to the State, some of the alleged victims are as young as 13 years old.
The pastor has been denied bail on two occasions, as he was deemed a flight risk. The women were arrested in November last year and are out on bail of R2 000.
The trial continues on Tuesday. (ANA)