Acquittal of teenager sentenced to death for stealing phone, my landmark achievement – Ajulo
An Abuja based legal practitioner, Kayode Ajulo has said the discharge and acquittal of a teenager who had been wrongfully convicted was a significant achievement in his legal career.
A Court of Appeal sitting in Ado Ekiti Judicial Division has discharged and acquitted a teenager Adeolu Bamiteko, who was sentenced to death by a High Court for stealing a phone.
Bamiteko with one Ayobami Ojo was arraigned in Charge No. HAD/15C/2014 before the High Court presided over by Justice J.O Adeyeye on three counts of conspiracy, armed robbery and unlawful possession of a firearm.
Consequently, on the 30th of June, 2017, Adeolu Bamiteko was sentenced to death by the trial court.
Speaking with Tribune Online at the weekend in Abuja, the Principal Partner of Kayode Ajulo & Co. Castle of Law, said he was informed about the predicament of Bamiteko through a Facebook post and he had to take up the case on compassionate grounds.
Ajulo further disclosed that he filed a Notice of Appeal No. CA/EK/41C/2020 at the Court of Appeal sitting in Ado Ekiti on the grounds that the prosecution failed to prove its case against Adeolu beyond reasonable doubt.
While arguing the Appeal, Ajulo contended among others that the prosecution failed to call the alleged victim as a witness in the case and the purported confessional statements of the accused persons which were admitted in evidence were recorded in Yoruba Language and translated into English Language.
“The Yoruba version of the statements were not tendered before the court.”
He further argued that there was no admissible or reliable evidence as to where, when and how Exhibit C (the bag allegedly belonging to the accused which contained locally made pistol, a knife, four mobile phones, a wrist-watch, a necklace and fifty naira note) was allegedly recovered from the accused.
In a unanimous judgment, the panel of Justices Coram, Hon. Justice Ibrahim Ali Andenyangtso; Hon. Justice Bilikisu Bello Aliyu and led by Hon. Justice Theresa Ngolika Oriji Abadua agreed with the position of the appellant’s counsel and set aside the judgment of the trial court in its entirety and thereafter discharged and acquitted Adeolu of the offences for which he was charged.
Ajulo further gave a heart-rending account narrated to him by Bamiteko while in Condemned Criminals cells in Lagos.
“This is the first time in my professional life that a minor will be let off the hook just by the grace of God through legal intervention. It is quite very rare.
“I remember one day I was talking to him and you know what this boy told me: he said anytime his name is called, it is either for food or he will not come back, because nobody calls condemned criminals. And when you call condemned criminals two things happen. The possibility of returning back after answering that call is 50-50.
“I see it as a civic duty to humanity. It is a huge victory for us. It is a good victory for humanity. Today you see Boko Haram killing people. But here is an opportunity to save a soul. This is huge.”
He declined comments on costs incurred by his Chamber to ensure justice and freedom for the teenager.
“Whatsoever might have been the cost does not matter. Flying to Akure, from Akure to Ado-Ekiti cost us a lot of money. I think it cost a lot. But it is my joy today the boy is saved.”
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