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Omotoso’s application for judge to recuse himself dismissed

Timothy Omotoso and two others face charges of rape and human trafficking.

Timothy Omotoso and his co-accused Zukiswa Sitho and Lusanda Sulani at the Port Elizabeth High Court on 9 October 2018. Picture: Gallo Images/Sowetan/Eugene Coetzee.

CAPE TOWN - An application by Nigerian pastor Timothy Omotoso for Judge Mandela Makaula to recuse himself from his rape and human trafficking trial has been dismissed.

Omotoso and his two co-accused face a string of charges in the Port Elizabeth High Court.

Earlier there was a delay in proceedings when the defence informed the judge that two of his clients who are out on bail don't feel safe going to court.

Defence attorney Peter Daubermann had brought an application on behalf of two of his clients - Omotoso and Lusanda Sulani - calling for the judge to recuse himself.

His argument was based on how the judge addressed the State's first witness Cheryl Zondi when she concluded the first part of her testimony.

Judge Makaula told the 22-year-old to concentrate on her future and forget about what's happening in court.

He also told her that she was not doing this for herself, but on behalf of justice.

In Monday's application, Daubermann argued his clients felt they would not get a fair trial and accused the judge of having been overly sympathetic towards Zondi.

He also suggested the judge had already decided to convict the accused.

The State argued the defence had no grounds for the application.

Judge Makaula has ruled it has no merit.

WATCH LIVE: Omotoso trial: Second witness takes stand

(Edited by Winnie Theletsane)