Court fixes December 5 for ruling on admissibility of Baba Ijesha’s confessional statement

Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo of an Ikeja Special Offences Court has fixed December 15 for ruling on the admissibility of confessional statement of Nollywood actor James Olanrewaju popularly known as Baba Ijesha.

Justice Taiwo fixed the date after counsels have adopted their final written addresses.

At the last hearing on November 19, the defense led by Babatunde Ogala, SAN, and Dada Awosika, SAN, had objected to the confessional statement of Baba Ijesha on ground that it was not voluntarily given.

The trial judge, Justice Taiwo had granted their request for a trial-within-trial to determine the voluntariness of the statement same day, and then adjourned for adoption of written addresses after the trial.

During resumed proceedings on Thursday, Awosika leading the defense and Yusuf Sule leading the prosecution both told the court that they have filed their written addresses.

Awosika further told the court that the defense filed a response to the written address of the prosecution and objected to the submission that the defendant was not tortured.

Citing section 35 (1) of the Evidence Act, he argued that in criminal matters, there are two burden of proof, adding that “one can change and the other doesn’t change.”

He said the defendant had put forward facts to substantiate use of oppression.

“It is for the court to look at evidence by the defendant that he was handcuffed, beaten and forced to sit on ground. Does that not qualify as evidence of oppression?”

Citing section 29 (5) of the Evidence Act, Awosika argued further that; “Even from the prosecution’s evidence, the defendant was sitting on the ground and shaking, one cannot make statement under that condition.”

He urged the Court to discountenance the submission of the prosecution.

Responding, Sule contended that there was no evidence before the court that the defendant was oppressed while making his confessional statement or that he was degraded.

He told the court that the defendant himself told the court that he was beaten before he was brought to the police station “which means it was a mob attack from which he was rescued.”

Sule also pointed out that contrary to the claims of the defendant, there was nowhere in his confessional statement where the town, Badagry was written, “which means the defendant was trying to mislead the court.”

He urged the Court to uphold the confessional statement of Baba Ijesha as voluntarily made and also uphold the submission of the prosecution.

Baba Ijesha is facing a six-count charge bordering on allegations of indecent treatment of a child, sexual assault, attempted sexual assault by penetration and sexual assault by penetration.

He has pleaded not guilty to the six-count charge.

Meanwhile, Justice Taiwo ordered a witness summon to be issued against a prosecution witness Brown Asuquo to appear in court at the next adjourned date of December 15.

The summon was sequel to the request of the prosecution led by Sule.

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