By Onozure Dania
Justice Mobolanle Okikiolu-Ighile, of a Lagos High Court, sitting in Tafa Balewa Square (TBS), annex of Igbosere, yesterday, convicted and sentenced one Ibrahim Saleh, to 16 years imprisonment, for attempted theft.
The defendant was first arraigned on August 14, 2014 and pleaded not guilty to a count charge of attempted stealing following which he was remanded in custody.
The case went on trial and the prosecution called some witnesses. At the resumed hearing of the matter yesterday, the defendant was re-arraigned, and he changed his plea of not guilty to guilty.
Justice Okikiolu-Ighile, however, sentenced him after the Lagos State Prosecutor, Mrs A. O. Odusanya had reviewed the facts of the case.
The defendant had, through his lawyer, brought a plea bargain agreement, urging the court to accept the terms of the agreement and make it the judgment of the court.
The judge asked the defendant if he was forced or threatened to make the plea bargain agreement.
Saleh, replied that he understood the terms of the plea bargain agreement, and was not forced or threatened to make the agreement.
Justice Okikiolu-Ighile, then held that in view of Section 76 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law of Lagos State, 2011, the court has ascertained from the defendant that he entered into the plea bargain agreement on his own free volution.
The judge said, “In the light of the defendant’s plea, I have taken into consideration the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses, and I have considered the voluntariness established by the defendant in court.
“I find the defendant guilty as charged. “In sentencing, I have looked deeply into the plea bargain agreement, and I am satisfied that Saleh understood why he pleaded guilty.
“Having been found guilty of the charge, I hereby sentence you to 16 years imprisonment starting from the date of remand, which is August 14, 2014”.
Justice Okikiolu-Ighile, however, ordered that Saleh be returned to the Kirikiri prison, to complete his sentence.
The Prosecutor, Mrs A. O. Odusanya, told the court that the facts were as stated in the charge.
Odusanya, said that Saleh committed the offence sometime in March, 2014, at 8:45p.m. at D3, HFP Close, Dolphin Estate, Ikoyi, Lagos.
She said that Saleh attempted to steal from the complainant, one Mr Uche Iwuamadi, of six Gold Wristwatches, four mobile phones, one Television set, four pairs of shoes and Canvas.
Other items include: A wallet containing ATM cards, a 1998 model Honda Accord car with registration No. LSR 197 DX worth N800, 000.
She said the convict also attempted to steal from the victim: Gold Trinkets and one Mitsubishi SUV marked KSF 115 BF
.“We are aware that this court is not bound by the plea bargain agreement. “In view of plea of guilt of the defendant and the plea bargain agreement, we urge the court to accept same and make it the judgment of this court,” the prosecutor said.
She said that the offence contravened Section 296 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011.
After the review of facts, Mrs J. I. Osagiede, counsel to the defendant, aligned to the submission of the prosecutor and urged the court to accept the plea bargain agreement.