The presiding judge in the Timothy Omotoso trial has recused himself after it emerged that the state witnesses had been accommodated at a guesthouse owned by his wife. The controversial pastor is on trial for rape.
Judge Mandela Makaula said, in the interest of justice, he will step down even though he had no financial interest or a role in the affairs of his wife’s company.
Makaula dismissed applications for his recusal last year after Peter Daubermann, defence attorney for Omotoso accused him of displaying empathy towards the state’s first witness, Cheryl Zondi.
EWN reporter Shamiela Fisher says Makaula told the court that he is doing this out of caution with the conditions of employment.
Basically, so that later on when this comes out no one can accuse him of being biased.— Shamiela Fisher, Reporter - EWN
He says out of the interest of justice he believes it is the right thing to do at this stage.— Shamiela Fisher, Reporter - EWN
It is currently not clear what is going to happen when the trial resumes in July.
Fisher says the NPA has indicated that the proceedings will have to start from scratch, meaning that Cheryl Zondi will have to come and testify all over again.
Now that he has recused himself, he has no further role to play in this trial. It is up to the judge present to appoint another judge who will preside over proceedings.— Shamiela Fisher, Reporter - EWN
Law expert James Grant confirms that when a judge recuses himself from a trial, proceedings will have to start for scratch.
The reasons remain that the judge cannot play any further role if his views are regarded as tainted.— James Grant, Law expert - Wits University
None of it can be relied on, all had to be heard again.— James Grant, Law expert - Wits University
To hear the rest of the conversation, listen below: