PORT ELIZABETH – A Nigerian pastor charged with human trafficking, sexual assault and the rape of young girls is suffering from “ill health and anxiety” while being detained in custody, according to his new interim lawyer.
The pastor, who cannot be named, was back in the Port Elizabeth Magistrate’s Court on Friday where the case against him was postponed until Monday in order to arrange a new date for a bail application on new facts.
The pastor fired his previous legal team after he was refused bail last month. At the time, the magistrate was of the opinion that the pastor was a flight risk and would likely interfere with state witnesses.
The pastor has now appointed attorneys from the firm Mcloughlin Porter in Vereeniging.
Port Elizabeth-based attorney, James Riley, under the firm’s instruction, asked for the matter to be postponed until next week and requested that the pastor make his appearance via AVR video system which will broadcast from St Albans prison.
“As you can see from around here, there’s a lot of security operations I presume based on previous court appearances, and also my client has also informed me that he is suffering from ill health at the moment. The up and down and waiting in the holding cells downstairs at the court has also produced some anxiety,” said Riley.
Riley also told reporters that he would not be conducting the pastor’s defence, but was rather serving as a correspondent lawyer at this stage.
The pastor, who was based in Durban, allegedly trafficked more than 30 girls and women who were from various branches of his church countrywide. He is accused of taking the girls to a house in Umhlanga, near Durban, where he allegedly sexually exploited them.
The girls were allegedly told not to tell anyone or else they would be “cursed and die”.
The pastor was arrested by the Hawks at the Port Elizabeth airport in April and has been in custody ever since.
The case was postponed until July 24.
African News Agency