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Bamise murder’s case: Absence of BRT driver’s lawyer stalls trial

By Yetunde Ayobami Ojo
29 September 2022   |   3:07 am
The trial of the driver of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), Andrew Nice Ominnikoron, fingered in the alleged sexual assault and murder of a 22-year-old fashion designer, Ayanwole Oluwabamise,

Ayanwole Bamise

The trial of the driver of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), Andrew Nice Ominnikoron, fingered in the alleged sexual assault and murder of a 22-year-old fashion designer, Ayanwole Oluwabamise, was yesterday stalled following the absence of Ominnikoron’s lawyer.
 

 
Justice Sherifat Sonaike of a Lagos State High Court sitting in Tafawa Balewa Square (TBS) had fixed yesterday for the continuation of the trial.
 
However, when the matter was called, the prosecuting counsel and Director of  Lagos State Public Prosecution (DPP), Dr Babajide Martins, told the court that the defendant’s counsel Abayomi Omotubora was not in court.
   
But in a bench ruling, the judge said: “I have listened to the Attorney General and considering the facts of the charge, I shall be directed at this stage that the defendant should avail himself of counsel to continue to conduct his trial on the next adjourned date.
 
“ If he is unable to avail himself of a lawyer on the next adjourned date, I will direct that the Legal Aid Council should take up his case. The defendant’s counsel Omotubora has been absent from court on several occasions.
 

“This is unbecoming of a lawyer of this noble profession, this particular counsel has failed to come to court to conduct his trial and this court strongly condemns it.”
   
The defendant’s counsel, Omotubora, has been absent from court six consecutive times. But on June 30, the court ordered the junior counsel from his chamber to conduct his defence.
 
Ominnikoron, 47 is facing a five-count charge bordering on rape, conspiracy, felony, sexual assault, and murder preferred against him by the Lagos state government.
 
The incident happened on February 26, 2022, at about 7:00 p.m., at Lekki- Ajah Conservation Centre along Lekki Ajah Expressway and Carter bridge in Lagos.
 
The prosecution alleged that the defendant had sexual intercourse with Oluwabamise without her consent and murdered her.
 
His offence is contrary to and punishable under Sections 411, 223, 260 and 165 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State 2015. He had pleaded not guilty to the charge preferred against him.

MEANWHILE, Justice Sonaike has adjourned the further trial to September 29, 2022.
 
Recall that during the last proceeding, on July 7, Justice Sonaike had ordered the defendant to avail himself of a new lawyer on the next adjourned date before adjourning to September 28, for the continuation of trial.