Court hears how previous state prosecutor was ‘intimidated’ by Cheryl Zondi’s brother

SABC News Cheryl Zondi 4 1 - Court hears how previous state prosecutor was ‘intimidated’ by Cheryl Zondi’s brother

The bail hearing of Pastor Timothy Omotoso will resume in the Port Elizabeth High Court on Thursday morning. On Wednesday, the court heard from the previous state prosecutor who testified that she was intimidated by the brother of the state’s first witness, Cheryl Zondi. She said this resulted in her being unable to continue the investigation.

This was the subject of a complaint by Zondi on behalf of the state’s other witnesses. Adv Cerfontein testified that Zondi’s brother was not happy with the way she conducted the interview. Cerfontein felt threatened and was fetched by the investigating officer. It emerged in court that Zondi wrote a letter to Cerfontein’s superiors on behalf of other state witnesses, asking that she be removed from the case. She was labelled as racist, incompetent and disrespectful.

Cerfontein, with 18 years of prosecuting experience in the High Court, felt insulted, and that the accusations against her are unfair. She withdrew from the case for ethical reasons.

On Tuesday, technicalities once again delayed proceedings in the bail application of Omotoso in the Port Elizabeth High Court. Omotoso was applying for bail for the third time while awaiting for his trial to resume following postponement due to the lockdown.

The bone of contention between his lawyer Advocate Terry Price SC and Judge Phillip Zilwa was whether a new court should hear the bail application or his trial court.

Price wanted an inquest about the protracted delays in the trial and the testimony of two witnesses who testified against Omotoso dismissed.

Omotoso and his co-accused Lusanda Sulani and Zukiswa Sitho are facing a range of charges including rape, sexual assault and human trafficking.

Sulani and Sitho are out on bail while Omotoso has been in custody for three years.

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