Court discharges man after 9 years awaiting trial
A Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja has discharged one Muideen Bilau after nine years of remand at the Kirikiri Medium Correctional Centre.
Bilau was arrested on April 5, 2014 around Igando area of Lagos State, where he paid a visit to one of his friends from his hometown of Oyo, Oyo State.
He was arraigned April 14, 2014 before Magistrate T. A. Elias (CM II) at Court 5, Abule Egba, Ikeja Magisterial District, for an alleged offence of defilement and later remanded in the Kirikiri Correctional Centre.
Following an application filed by his team of lawyers led by Yusuf Temilola Nurudeen, relying on the provisions of Section 232 (1) (b) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law of Lagos State 2021 (as amended), Section 35(4) and 36(4) of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria (as amended), Justice Rahman Adesola Oshodi discharged Bilau.
Nurudeen, in praying that the suspect be discharged informed the court that the defendant had since been remanded in the correctional centre since April 14, 2014, without trial.
“As a matter of fact, the state preferred a charge against the defendant sequel to his application for the enforcement of his fundamental rights case he filed at the Federal High Court on May 21, 2020. The information preferred July 16, 2020 was an afterthought,” Nurudeen said.
Hon. Justice T. G. Ringim of the Federal High Court delivered judgment on September 14, 2021 based on the fact that the state had preferred information against the defendant before a Court of competent jurisdiction.
Since the arraignment of the defendant on September 30, 2021, the prosecution had failed to bring any of the six witnesses listed in the information when the Court ordered accelerated hearing and witness summons.
In response to the application of the defendant’s counsel, the prosecution counsel, Inumidun Okeowo left the issue to the discretion of the court.
In the well-considered ruling, Justice Oshodi held that the a case where the Court will invoke its inherent powers and the provisions of Section 232(1)(b) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law of Lagos State 2015 (2021 as amended), Section 35(4) and 36(5) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended). The Court discharged the defendant.