Court Fixes Dec 15 For Ruling On Baba Ijesha’s Case

Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo of an Ikeja Special Offences Court has fixed December 15, for ruling on the admissibility of confessional statement of Nollywood actor, James Olanrewaju a.k.a Baba Ijesha.

The judge fixed the date after counsels have 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.

The film star has been in a legal tussle after he was accused of assaulting a 14-year-old minor when she was 7.

The actor had earlier confessed to the allegations against him in his confessional statement to the police.

However, when he appeared in court on November 19, the actor alleged that he was forced to sign the confessional statement at the police station.

Babatunde Ogala and Dada Awosika, lawyers to the actor, had claimed that the statement cannot be admitted as evidence by the court since their client did not give it willingly.

At the time, the judge had approved the lawyers’ request for a trial-within-trial to determine the voluntariness of the statement.

After the trial-within-trial, Taiwo had adjourned the trial for adoption of written addresses.

When the trial resumed on Thursday, Awosika informed the court that the defence had filed a response to that of the prosecution while adopting his written address.
He objected to the submission of the prosecution that the defendant was not tortured.

Citing Section 35(1) of the evidence act, Awosika argued that in criminal matters, there are two burdens of proof, adding that “one can change and the other doesn’t change”.

He stated that the defendant had put forward facts before the court which substantiate the use of oppression.

“It is for the court to look at 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 asked.

Awosika further stated that section 29(5) of the evidence acts to buttress his point.

“Even from the prosecution’s evidence, the defendant was sitting on the ground and shaking; one cannot make a statement under that condition,” he added.

He enjoined the court to discountenance the submission of the prosecution.

However, Yusuf Sule, the lead prosecutor, argued that there was no evidence before the court that the defendant was oppressed while making his confessional statement.

Sule stated that the defendant told the court that he was beaten before he was brought to the police station.

This, he said, “means it was a mob attack from which he was rescued” and the defendant was trying to mislead the court.

Sule tasked the court to uphold that the confessional statement of Baba Ijesha was voluntarily made.

Following the adoption of the written addresses, Taiwo ordered a witness summon to be issued for Brown Asuquo, a prosecution witness, mandating him to appear in court at the next adjourned date.