Court to rule on admissibility of Baba Ijesha’s confessional statement December 15

Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo of an Ikeja Special Offences Court Thursday fixed December 15, 2020, for ruling on the admissibility of the confessional statement of Nollywood actor, James Olanrewaju popularly known as Baba Ijesha.

The judge fixed the date after counsels in the matter adopted their final written addresses.

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.

It will be recalled that he, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges.

At the last hearing on November 19, the defence led by Babatunde Ogala, SAN, and Dada Awosika, SAN, had objected to the confessional statement of Baba Ijesha on the 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 the same day and adjourned for the adoption of written addresses after the trial.

During resumed proceedings Thursday, Awosika who led the defence and Yusuf Sule who led the prosecution both told the court that they have filed their written addresses.

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

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

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

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

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

Sule 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.”

Sule urged the court to uphold that the confessional statement of Baba Ijesha was voluntarily made and also to uphold the submission of the prosecution.

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.

 

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