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Baba Ijesha: Court to rule on admissibility of defence’s confessional statement

By Yetunde Ayobami Ojo
03 December 2021   |   2:50 am
A Lagos Special Offences Court, Ikeja, will on December 15 rule on the admissibility of confessional statement of Nollywood actor, James Olanrewaju, popularly called Baba Ijesha.

Lagos Special Sexual Offences Court, Ikeja

A Lagos Special Offences Court, Ikeja, will on December 15 rule on the admissibility of the confessional statement of Nollywood actor, James Olanrewaju, popularly called Baba Ijesha.
The trial Judge, Oluwatoyin Taiwo, fixed the date after counsel to the parties adopted their final written addresses in the trial.

At the last proceedings, the defence counsel led by Mr. Babatunde Ogala (SAN) and Dada Awosika (SAN) had objected to the confessional statement of Baba Ijesha on the ground that it was not given voluntarily.
Justice Taiwo had granted a request for a trial-within-trial to ascertain the voluntariness of the statement.
However, when the hearing commenced yesterday, Awosika and the lead prosecution counsel, Yusuf Sule (both defence counsel) told the court that they have filed their written addresses.
Awosika said that the defence filed a response to the written address of the prosecution and objected to the submission that the defendant was not tortured.
He cited section 35(1) of the Evidence Act, arguing that in criminal matters, there are two burdens of proof.  
He said: “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?”
In his response, Mr. Sule argued that there was no evidence before the court that the defendant was oppressed while making his confessional statement or that he was degraded.
He 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.”
He 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, a Lagos Domestic Violence and Sexual Offences Court has sentenced a 54-year-old businessman, Bashir Olashekere to life imprisonment for defilement.
Justice Abiola Soladoye, who  sentenced Olashekere to life imprisonment after he was found guilty of defilement, described him as a “randy neighbour.”

The state government had charged  Olashekere for defiling his neighbour’s 10-year-old daughter.
His offence was contrary to Section 137 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State 2015.
While delivering judgment yesterday, the judge said, “Children are special and should be nurtured with love and care and should not be molested by an irresponsible randy neighbour. The defendant, therefore, is to pay for his sexual indiscretions.
“The defendant should be shamed. Noting that defilement is a heinous crime against the victim. 
“Not only is the victim traumatised, but she will also live with it forever. It is hoped that the naming and shaming of this perpetrator will help step down cases of defilement in this state of excellence. 
“The defendant acted irresponsibly with reckless abandon by defiling his neighbour’s daughter. Adult neighbours are expected to live by example by being moral. What manner of neighbour is this sick paedophile?

“ You  Bashir Olashekere is hereby sentenced to life imprisonment without an option of fine. Your name is to be registered in the Sex Offenders Register is maintained by the Lagos State Government.”
The judge also commended the evidence of a medical doctor, Dr. Oyedeji Alagbe of the Mirabel Centre (a sexual assault referral center), which she described as very illuminating and unshaken during cross-examination.