By Abdulwahab Abdulah
Magistrate E. Johnson has convicted a Dubai based businessman, Joseph Nwudu apprehended by the security team of the Lagos state Governor for driving against traffic.
Delivering her judgment, Magistrate Johnson who presided over the case at theLagos state Special Offences Court sitting in Alausa, Ikeja sentenced the defendant to eight hours of community service for violating traffic rules.
Nwudu was arrested on November 2, 2012 by the Policemen in the convoy of the Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN, while he was driving to his hotel from the hospital where his father had passed on.
Immediately he was arraigned, he pleaded guilty to the one count charge.
He was charged for wrongful driving and violation of road traffic offence 2012.
During the trial personally led by the state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Ade Ipaye, it was alleged that the defendant was accosted while driving his Honda Accord IV- TEC model marked XW 646 AGL against on-coming traffic at about 1.05 am on the day of the incident.
He was said to be driving fromCampbell Streetinward to J.K. Randle road atTafawa Balewa Square, an offence contrary to Section 7(b) and punishable under Section 7(b) (1) of the Lagos Traffic Law No 4, 2012.
The Attorney-General told the court tha the defendant’s vehicle was impounded and brought to the office of the Task Force at Alausa while he was subsequently charged to court and was granted bail.
While presenting his allocutus, before the court passed its sentence, his lawyer, Mr. Segun Ayodele pleaded for leniency of the court, arguing he is a first offender and has no record of breach of traffic law of the state.
Ayodele said that the defendant does not reside inNigeriabut inDubaiand that he was inNigeriato attend to his ailing father who died five minutes before his arrest.
”Your honor, as you can see, he is remorseful having realised what he did is against the traffic laws of the state,” adding that on the day in question, he just lost his father about five minutes before his arrest.
According to Ayodele, the defendant had on the day preceding his arrest, took his ailing father to St. Nicholas Hospital and was with him till he suddenly passed on during the night.
Ayodele said that the defendant was going to his hotel room to pick some things, including money to be paid before the body of his farher could be admitted into the morgue.
”It was in this emotional condition that the defendant set out to go to his hotel room when he inadvertently went into one-way against on-coming traffic.”
”The route he even took that day was a longer route to the alternative route available”, he said adding “in view of this, I urged the court to be compassionate with the defendant”.
He therefore pleaded with the court to use its discretion in favour of the defendant.
Delivering judgement on the case, senior magistrate Johnson found the defendant guilty as charged having considered the facts of the case as stated by the AG and admitted by the defendant.
In her judgement, Senior Magistrate Johnson sentenced the defendant to eight hours of community service, adding the court was mindful of the circumstances and the emotional shock the defendant was going through as at the time the offence was committed in arriving at her decision.
She however stated that the defendant must also give an undertaken that he would not violate Lagos Traffic laws again.