ByÂ AbdulwahabÂ Â Abdulah
There was a mild drama yesterday before a Tinubu magistrate’s court, in Lagos Island, hearing the case of threat to life of Mr. Gbenga Adefaye, Vanguard Newspapers General Manager,Â (Publication), when the two handsets earlier seized from the two accused persons and admitted as courtâ€™s exhibits failed to work.
The prosecution had two months ago concluded its case while awaiting the courtâ€™s ruling on the no-case submission made by the two accused personsâ€™ counsel, Finah Inaboh.
The accused, Jelili Lawal and Kehinde Oyelara, are answering two-count charge of conspiracy, threat to life and intention to steal from Adefaye.
At the resumed hearing of the case yesterday, the magistrate, Miss Ari Tobi, who was expected to deliver her ruling, said she could not do so because the two handsets tendered as exhibits were not working.Specifically, the handsets were used by the accused persons in sending the threat messages to Adefaye asking him to deposit N300,000 or risk his life.
However, the police prosecutor, Mrs. Molo, in his response told the court that the two handsets were working when they were tendered by the police investigating team, but may have ran out of battery because of the time the phones have been kept in custody. He was however proved wrong when the phones refused to come up.
In ensuring justice in the suit, the Magistrate, stood down all other cases before her asking the parties to work out how the handsets will be recharged in the open court. However, efforts to revive the handsets failed as they refused to power after several hours of recharge.
In his submission, the prosecutor insisted that the handsets were working when tendered, wondering if they had been tampered with through some technicalities.
The defence counsel only said â€œit is their exhibits, they tendered it and I have nothing to say.â€
The Presiding Magistrate subsequently adjourned her ruling till September 10, 2009 in the â€˜no case submissionâ€™.
Lawal and Oyelara were charged on a two-count charge of conspiracy, threat to life and intend to steal. They had in telephone text messages threatened to kill Mr Adefaye unless he deposited a sum of N300, 000 into a bank account of one of the new generation banks in Ikirun, Osun State.
However, luck ran out on them when the telephone numbers used by them were tracked down by crack police detectives from the Zone 2 police command in Lagos and their counterparts from Zone 1, command, Osogbo, Osun State where the second accused person was arrested.