Sotitobire missing child: Ondo court resumes hearing

The High Court in Akure, Ondo State capital, on Monday, filled to the brim, as the court resumed the trial of the founder of Sotitobire Miracle Centre, Prophet Alfa Babatunde, and six members of the church over the disappearance of a one year toddler, Gold Kolawole, during Church service, last November.

Babatunde and six others were arraigned before Justice Olusegun Odusola on a three-count charge over the missing boy.

The court had at the last hearing on February 6, fixed March, 16, 17 and 19 for accelerated hearing of the case, while the Prophet was denied bail.

Two out of the seven prosecution witnesses appeared before the Court on Monday, while five more witnesses are to give evidence against Babatunde.

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However, there was a twist in the matter, when the defence counsel, Mr Olusola Oke, presented the court and the Prosecution Counsel, Mr Adekola Olawoye, who is the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, in the state, a Court of Appeal process on bail application for the suspects.

While the Attorney General prayed the Court to adjourn the case till June after the bail application would have been done with, the defence counsel promised to withdraw the bail application at the appeal court for accelerated hearing of the suit before the high court.

All efforts by the defence counsel to convince the court that the two court processes could go on simultaneously was rejected by the Attorney General, who said he was the one who could decide where state counsel can appear.

Olawoye said the state counsels would not appear in court until the defence counsel withdraws the Court of Appeal process.

Oke, however, promised to withdraw the application before the Court of Appeal so that hearing in the matter can continue.

The Presiding Judge, Justice Olusegun Odusola, held that there was no need to entertain bail application by the defendants’ counsel, noting that the court would ensure accelerated hearing of the suit

Justice Odusola, therefore, adjourned the hearing on the matter until Thursday, March 19, 2020.

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