COZA: Lawyers speak on Busola Dakolo, Fatoyinbo rape scandal

AMIDST controversies surrounding the rape allegations levelled against embattled Senior Pastor of the Commonwealth of Zion Assembly (COZA), Biodun Fatoyinbo by Mrs. Busola Dakolo, legal experts have stated that unless certain conditions are met, justice may be far-reaching.

They argued that the call for justice is dependent on the evidence provided by the victim one of which is medical.

An Abuja based Lawyer, Uchenna Amulu who spoke with the Tribune Online on Monday, queried the motive behind the sudden disclosure by the victim (Busola Dakolo) after several years of the alleged rape incident.

He maintained that already, the allegation if eventually pursued in court is constrained by two factors which he regarded as a limitation of law and evidence.

According to him, the wild call for justice is unfounded even as he stressed that: “Such case will not see the light of the court.”

Amulu noted that the legal system is one that does not give justice based on sentiments but evidence to back up claims or accusations.

His words: “Although other people have come out to say that the Pastor has such tendencies and has done it to them but those ones are for their own cases. You can also use it to establish character evidence but the fact is that it cannot convict him if the justice you are looking for is the Police arresting him, trying him and getting him to jail. Even if she has evidence then, she didn’t bring it to the limelight until now, we will question the evidence like if it was made up for that purpose.

“The rape allegation against the Pastor will not see the light of the day in court because of the time frame. Why did you keep quiet all these while? In the law court, we don’t do sentiments. Even if they have more damning evidence they cannot still get conviction reason been that the time allowed by the law has passed.”

In another argument, the lawyer averred that even if the victim eventually sues the said Pastor with damning evidence, this would be queried and may not be honoured as the time allowed by the law to make report has elapsed.

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“Even if she makes the report with the Police now, there are two constraints one is the limitation of law and evidence. It must not be from her story alone except the Pastor agrees. There has to be corroboration with medical evidence to show that she was actually raped first may be the tear of the hymen or semen deposit but I am sure, that has been washed away over the years,” he added.

Also, another Abuja-based Human Rights and Constitutional Lawyer, Pelumi Olajengbesi argued that although the crime was allegedly committed years back, this does not thwart the hopes of getting justice.

However, he emphasised that rape cases are always difficult to prove in court, as establishing such fact would demand corroborative evidence from eyewitnesses’ account or medical evidence.

“Justice can be served but it is largely dependent on facts available with the victim. The fact that this occurred a long time ago does not destroy the case, provided the victim can establish the required element in law.

“This will be very difficult anyway, but close follow up with the matter and interaction with the legal team working closely with the Dakolo’s family goes to show that this case might shake the entire walls of this country.”

He stated further: “Do not forget that the victim claimed she was raped more than one time and she was close to the family. Do not also forget that the accused has been challenged in the past by family members of the victim and it said that he apologised and made efforts to resolve the matter.”

Olajengbesi, however, pointed out that establishing rape case in the Nigerian law is a herculean task stressing that: “For the offence of rape to be properly established, there must be eyewitnesses’ account.”

“However, medical evidences have helped to ameliorate the challenges of eyewitnesses in corroborating evidence of rape. Even in all of this, I am positive that this case may eventually set a new judicial precedence in rape cases if eventually pursued by government,” he concluded.