Bail denied for alleged EL sex offender pastor
Alleged sex-pest pastor Samuel Sackey was denied bail by the East London magistrate’s court on Monday.
The decision to keep the King Palace Chapel International Church founder in prison left the handful of the church’s congregants stunned.
Magistrate Lionel Mitten said the state had a compelling argument which convinced him that should Sackey be granted bail, he might evade trial because the pastor was not South African.
He was not convinced Sackey would not intimidate witnesses.
The pastor was arrested on April 18 on 12 counts of sexual assault against six girls and women.
He suffered a heart attack on Good Friday – a day after his arrest – and was kept at the West Bank prison hospital section after he was discharged from Frere Hospital’s ICU on April 30.
Sackey was expressionless after Mitten said he had not been convinced that the pastor’s freedom would not threaten the alleged victims.
Mitten said while Sackey was plagued by deteriorating health, he would be hard-pressed to counter the charges although he had vehemently asserted his innocence.
Mitten said he did not believe that Sackey, a Ghanaian national, would not flee back to his country once released on bail.
“The facts of this case are of a very serious nature. If convicted, the applicant faces long imprisonment. I am concerned and not completely convinced that he will not attempt to evade trial,” he said.
The facts of this case are of a very serious nature. If convicted, the applicant faces long imprisonment. I am concerned and not completely convinced that he will not attempt to evade trial,Magistrate Lionel Mitten
Mitten said Sackey’s influence in his church placed him in a position of power over his congregants, and the alleged victims, who are all members of his church. He said the spiritual relationship between Sackey and the alleged victims indicated that the pastor could sway the victims and their families against proceeding with the case.
“I have deep-seated reservations about the relationship between the victims and the bail applicant should he be granted bail,” Mitten said.
Some of Sackey’s congregants were in tears as he was led back to the prison where he will stay until his next appearance on June 28. when the director of public prosecution is expected to decide whether to pursue the charges against him.
Before Mitten delivered his judgment, Sackey’s lawyer, Elias Makhanya, had poked holes in the state’s case, saying that the allegations had surfaced after his client had reputably established his ministry.
“He is emotionally attached to South Africa. He cannot run away from the law.
“If he dies while in custody because of his health conditions, the case will collapse and the truth will never come out,” said Makhanya.