By GBENGA OLARINOYE, Osogbo
The atmosphere in Court five of the Osun state High Court complex Wednesday last week  was unusually charged as the venue was jam packed by prominent Chief from  Ilowa in Osun. Oba Adebukola Alli, the Alowa of Ilowa in Obokun Local Government Area of the state is standing trial over  allegation of rape of a female National Youth Service Corp member Miss Helen Okpara.

Oba Alli had since June this year been a guest of Ilesa prison where a Magistrate, Mr Adewumi Makanjuola, had earlier ordered him to be remanded despite several attempts by his counsel, Tawfeek Tewogbade, to secure his bail.

But Oba Alli’s appearance at the high court where his case was transferred as the hearing begins elicited some sorts of interest as the people of his community, Ilowa-Ijesa including members of his family turned out in their large numbers to show him solidarity.

As early as 7.00am the court room was already filled with people mostly spectators who thronged the venue to witness what has turned out to be a celebrated case in the state in recent time.

At exactly 9.15 am, the presiding judge, Justice Jide Falola, who had handled many controversial cases  in the past even while serving as a Magistrate, stepped into the chamber of the court room for the business of the day.

The embattled monarch who had earlier been wheeled into the court room on a stretcher as a result of ill health while his case was going on at a Magistrate court was the first to have his case announced by the court registrar.

It would be recalled that several attempts by the monarch to secure a bail in order to attend to his ill health while his case lasted at the magistrate court did not yield any fruitful result as the presiding magistrate vehemently turned down his request.

When the case was mentioned, counsel to the accused person, Mr Tewogbade urged the court to grant his client bail having spent about four months in Ilesa prison without any proper medical attention, arguing that the monarch has some serious health challenges which needed to be attended to urgently.

Mr Tewogbade had told the court that the health of his client who was brought to the court by the ambulance of Ilesa prison had seriously deteriorated as a result of the strike embarked upon by medical officers in the state owned hospitals who were attending to him and pleaded that the court should grant the accused person bail on health ground.

Mr Tewogbade who urged the court to temper justice with mercy and consider the health of his client as a paramount thing in the case, said his client should be presumed innocent of the allegation leveled against him until the otherwise is proved.

According to the lawyer  who called the attention of the court to the position of his client who was laid on a stretcher throughout the court proceedings, “medical officers in the employment of the state government who were taking care of the health of my client had for some months now been on strike and this has adversely affected the health of my client, it is on this note that I plead that the court should grant him bail and allow him have access to private physicians of his choice.”

Oba Alli had since March 25th  this year been standing trial over allegation of rape of a corp member who served in his domain. The case was in August transferred to the High Court from the Chief Magistrate Court after the Magistrate had on July 1 granted bail to the accused monarch but eventually revoked the bail.

The state Counsel, Mr Akintayo who expressed fear that the accused person could jump bail if granted, also agreed that the health of the accused has grossly deteriorated.

Ruling on the bail application, the trial Judge, Justice Falola  granted the accused person bail in the sum of N200,000 with two sureties who are residents of the state with tax clearance and two passport photographs.

Justice Falola  in granting bail to the accused person however warned that the bail may be revoked and the accused person given bench warrant if he  fails to show up in court when ever his attention is needed.

The Judge  who noted that it is only the living that could  be prosecuted, said  the need to grant the accused person bail became imperative considering his deteriorated health condition.

He also ruled that the accused should have access to his personal physician but should not travel outside the country without an approval of the Registrar of the state High Court.

As soon as the trial Judge adjourned the case till December 6, 2011, there was wild jubilation in the court room as the people expressed their happiness over the bail granted the monarch and with lenient bail condition.

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