Televangelist Timothy Omotoso will remain behind bars after the Nigerian pastor was denied by the Port Elizabeth High Court on Wednesday.
Judge Phillip Zilwa delivered the judgment, ruling that there were no exceptional circumstances placed before the court to allow Omotoso to be granted bail.
The pastor had brought forward applications before, with his first application being based on unreasonable delay in terms of section 342A of the Criminal Procedure Act.
Zilwa said in court that Omotoso was still considered as a flight risk as he had also been declared a prohibited person, meaning that the pastor would likely be deported.
Omotoso also has a British passport.
The judge also argued that Omotoso’s claims of health risks while in prison were not substantial enough for the court to grant bail.
A handful of Omotoso supporters were seen outside the court.
Omotoso – with his co-accused Lusanda Sulani and Zukiswa Sitho – face 97 charges, including rape, human trafficking and racketeering, for allegedly targeting and recruiting young girls for sexual exploitation.
It is alleged that the girls were moved from their homes to two mission houses in KwaZulu-Natal, where they were allegedly made to engage in sexual acts with Omotoso.
Sulani and Sitho are currently out on bail.