Ola Ajayi – Ibadan
An Oyo State High Court sitting in Ibadan has discharged and acquitted former Oyo State House of Assembly Chief whip, Hon. Olafisoye Akinmoyede and three others who were charged with the murder of a former member of the House of Representatives, Late Temitope Olatoye (aka Sugar).
The ex-lawmaker who represented Lagelu/Akinyele federal constituency in the lower chamber was shot at Lalupon in Lagelu Local Government and was rushed to the University College Hospital, Ibadan. But, he later died.
The defendants who were freed with Akinmoyede include Alhaji Rafiu Adebayo, Alhaji Rasheed Oladele and Kazeem Ayinde.
While delivering the judgment, Justice Maruf Adegbola, said that the prosecution counsel did not bring any evidence to prove that the defendants were at the scene of the crime.
The judge also said the evidence before the court exonerated the defendants.
“It will amount to turning on the defendants to prove their innocence which is not a requirement of the Nigeria criminal justice system. In fact, doing so, contravenes section 36(5) of 1999 constitutional (as amended) and the rights of the defendants.
“The prosecution has not established any of the ingredients of the offence of murder charged so as to warrant the court to ask the defendants to enter its defence,” the judge said.
The court also held that Prosecution Witness One (PW1) who was the star witness in the case, Mr Olajide Olatoye, a younger brother to the deceased testified that none of all the four accused was involved in the murder of his elder brother.
He said his brother was killed by one Jelili Okanlomo, who is still at large.
The court said, “In my view, taking together the charges filed against the four defendants, the prosecution has not established any nexus to connect any of the four defendants to the offences with regard to the murder of Olatoye Temitope Sugar”
“I, therefore, hold that the prosecution has not proved any of the ingredients relating to the two charges against the four defendants.
“The prosecution failed totally to prove any of the ingredients of the two charges preferred against the accused persons. It will amount to turning on the defendants to prove their innocence, which is not a requirement of the Nigeria Criminal Justice System. In fact, doing so contravenes the constitutional rights of the four defendants, Section 36(5) of the 1999 constitution (as amended).
“For this reason, I will not consider the evidence by the four defendants, in its defence, as the prosecution has not established any of the ingredients of the two offences charged so as to warrant the court to ask any of the four defendants to enter upon its defence.
“In conclusion, taking together the case put before me by the prosecution together with the evidence led, I am of the opinion that the prosecution failed to establish the charges preferred against the defendants, and the defendants are discharged and acquitted.”
The defence counsel, Adeboye Adetayo, who represented Michael Lana, commended the judiciary for the judgment, saying “Justice has prevailed.”