Hearing in the murder trial of 28-year-old Yewande Oyediran (nee Fatoki), a lawyer with the Oyo State Ministry of Justice who was alleged of unlawfully causing the death of Lowo Oyediran, her 38-year-old husband, has been slated to commence on November 9, 2016 before High Court 1, sitting in the premises of the High Court of Justice, Ring Road, Ibadan.
The trial was earlier fixed for Monday, October 24 but couldn’t go on as scheduled because the Chief Judge of Oyo State, Justice Munta Abimbola, who presides over the matter, was out of the country for a training programme.
At the last hearing of the matter just before the court went on vacation, the matter stalled because the defendant was not present in court. The private Prosecutor, S.S. Akinyele, had informed the court that he was ready to move his motion and commence trial but the lead defence counsel, Bioye Oloyede Asanike, had objected to the case going on, citing the defendant’s ill health as the reason for his objection.
“My Lord, the case cannot go on because the defendant is sick and cannot come to court. We cannot go on behind her because this is a criminal trial,” Asanike had stated.
Justice Abimbola had, however, opposed the manner in which the information was given and had asked the defence to speak like a lawyer and place strong facts before the court.
The defence had then informed the court that, “The Deputy Comptroller of Prisons in charge of the Agodi prisons called me as her lawyer to inform me that she was sick and cannot be brought to court. I was informed that she had been unwell since last week and only managed to come on Thursday. I will be seeking an adjournment for her to get well and be able to be in court for trial.”
In his reply, however, Akinyele though admitted that as human beings, anyone could get sick, opposed the manner in which the matter was handled. “We are all human beings and only the living can stand trial. But I will be objecting to the patently wrong procedure embarked upon by the defence. They cannot have monopoly of information concerning the health of the defendant. The court and I should be informed of her health status.
“The DCP needs to write formally to the court. I need to corroborate the evidence. I urge the court to stand down the matter and call the DCP to come and tell us officially the state and condition of the defendant,” Akinyele concluded.
When asked, the lawyers holding brief for the deceased’s family and Women Arise Initiative, Kehinde Adesida and Femi Aborishade, also agreed that except it becomes a pattern, they have no objections to an adjournment being granted by court.
Justice Abimbola, however, stated that though the wrong procedure was applied, it would stand no use than the purpose of information to give a stand down and invite the DCP but also informed the defence team that adjournment was not a matter of course.
“Adjournment is not a matter of course. Materials should be placed before the court to convince it of the need for an adjournment. However, he has spoken from the bar and Section 100 of the Criminal Procedure Law states that trial cannot go on behind the defendant.
“Though the defence is silent on when they want the case adjourned to. So I will allow the lawyers to meet and come up with a date.”
The lawyers had met and proposed Monday October 24, to commence trial since they didn’t have information on when the defendant would recover from her ailment and since the court vacation was about to commence.