DEFENCE LAWYER Peter Dauberman has turned the limelight on himself all for wrong reasons.
Representing the controversial Nigerian pastor Timothy Omotoso, in the court hearing that has caught the attention of international media, Dauberman’s style of questioning has been a national topic and as a result labeled all kinds of names.
Omotoso‚ 60‚ and his co-accused Lusanda Sulani‚ 36‚ and Zukiswa Sitho‚ 28‚ face a litany of charges ranging from sexual assault to rape and human trafficking.
What do his co-accused stand to gain, including the congregants, who till this day continue to support Omotoso?
This prompted Cheryl Zondi (14 years then) who was one of the alleged victims to testify against the flamboyant Omotoso.
Dauberman has since the start of cross-examination been accused of discrediting Zondi’s evidence and asking her insensitive questions, that prompted Judge Mandela Makaula, on several occasions to ‘call him to order’.
Some of the posts included ‘Tim Omotoso’s lawyer Peter Daubermann is a rapist himself’.
Now 22, Zondi at times took charge of the hearing by challenging Dauberman’s questioning that resulted in a series of frustrations for the lawyer.
A behavior by some lawyers who are meant to uphold the law, could prove a problem for victims to testify in such cases, especially females.
Zondi continues to get backing from the nation, including political parties.
Meanwhile, the Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) will approach the judiciary and the General Council of the Bar (GCB) to discuss the “unfair” treatment of rape victims in court.
“Although the Commission for Gender Equality respects the independence of the judiciary‚ gender blindness cannot be used as a source of inadvertent secondary victimisation‚” said commission chairperson Lulama Nare.
“The commission will continue to raise this pertinent question with the magistrates commission‚ bar council and the judiciary as a whole on the unfairness that rape survivors go through whilst giving testimonies.
“It is plainly unfair to subject them to such inhumane treatment‚ whereas those who did the act are treated favourably.”
Nare said the commission had always argued that “even if the intention is to seek justice by laying women bare in courts‚ the same justice-seeking mechanisms should not allow prejudice and patriarchal nuances to find expression in the course of seeking the truth.
“This will send a very clear message to other young women who are victims and survivors of sexual abuse. This young girl is determined to speak out about it and this does not happen often.
“The accused‚ Timothy Omotoso‚ is having a lot of support. She is speaking her mind without fear or favour. She is determined to speak the truth‚” said Nare.
“I hope the law protects this girl.”