Nigerian pastor Timothy Omotoso and co-accused Lusanda Sulani and Zukiswa Sitho at the Port Elizabeth High Court on Wednesday

The Port Elizabeth High Court in South Africa on Wednesday dismissed an application for leave to appeal its earlier decision allowing the case against Nigerian pastor, Timothy Omotoso, to be heard in the city.

The 60-year-old televangelist is standing trial with two others, Lusanda Sulani and Zukiswa Sitho, for allegedly trafficking more than 30 girls and women, who were from various branches of his Jesus Dominion Church to a house in Umhlanga, KwaZulu-Natal, where he allegedly exploited them sexually.

Sulani and Sitho, are accused of recruiting girls from all over South Africa for purposes of sexual exploitation, according to iol.co.za.

Defence attorney, Peter Daubermann, had previously raised concerns about the validity of an authorisation certificate signed by then National Director of Public Prosecutions, Shaun Abrahams.

Daubermann claimed that the court did not have the jurisdiction to hear the bulk of the charges, specifically alleged offences, which took place in cities outside of Port Elizabeth and abroad.

Omotoso and the two others pleaded not guilty to seven charges of rape and sexual assault, which allegedly occurred in Port Elizabeth.

In her judgment on Wednesday, Judge Irma Schoeman said that the NDPP directive and indictment were in line with the Criminal Procedure Act. 

She said the directive’s reference to the indictment was sufficient and postponed the case till October 7, 2019, for hearing.

The trial started afresh two weeks ago, after the original presiding judge of Port Elizabeth High Court, Mandela Makaula, excused himself.

Omotoso is alleged to have groomed people and abused them from the age of 14. 

If the court finds that the allegation of sex with minors is true, he could face life behind the bars.

Many of the young girls he abused have come forward to detail their experiences at the hands of the Nigerian pastor, who was first arrested on April 20, 2017.

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