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Court frees 15-year-old rape attempt victim of murder charge

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The Lagos Magistrates’ Court, yesterday in Yaba, freed a 15-year-old teenager (name withheld), who was accused of killing her father`s friend, Babatunde Ishola, 51, who attempted to rape her. She was freed based on the legal advice of the Lagos State Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) that the case lacked ingredients of murder.

Delivering the judgment in the case, the presiding magistrate, Mr. Philip Adebowale Ojo, said the case file after due consideration of facts, was decided that there were insufficient facts to establish a prima facie case of murder against the suspect, contrary to Section 222 of the Criminal Law, Cap. C17, Vol.3 Laws of Lagos State.

According to the Office of Public Defender (OPD), “the court ruled that ingredients required to prove the offence of murder against the suspect were not all present from the facts of the case.

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“Also clearly, the intention to kill or cause grievous bodily harm to the deceased cannot be established. It is settled law that in a case of murder, defences raised by the evidence, whether specifically put up by the suspect or not, must be properly considered. No matter how weak or stupid a defence raised by a suspect may appear, it must be properly considered. Consequently, Mr. Philip Ojo discharged and acquitted the suspect of a murder charge.”

Recalled that the teenager was represented by the Lagos State Office of the Public Defender since the inception of the matter, a period of detention and investigation at the State Criminal Intelligence and Investigation Department (SCIID) and arraignment before Yaba Magistrates’ Court on a one-count charge of killing Babatunde Ishola on March 7, 2020, at Nwadolu Street, Aboru, in Alimosho Local Government Area of the state, by stabbing him to death with a knife, thereby committing an offence punishable under the Criminal law of Lagos State, Nigeria, 2015.

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She was thereafter remanded at the Correctional Home for Girls, Idi-Araba and the case adjourned for legal advice of the Lagos State Director of Public Prosecutions.

Speaking on the matter, the Director, Lagos Office of the Public Defender, Dr Babajide Martins, expressed satisfaction with the decision of the court to free the girl of the murder charge.

Martins, while appreciating the professionalism, diligence and timely advice of the DPP, which made it possible for the girl to be released, assured other indigent people being represented in various cases that OPD had been re-organised and re-engineered to deliver free legal services in line with the current administration’s philosophy of better security and governance to all residents irrespective of gender and religion.

The director, therefore, appealed to those that have suffered any form of rights denial, abuse and violence to visit any of the offices of OPD nearest to them for free legal service.

Parents of the girl expressed appreciation to the state government and OPD for coming to their rescue with free legal services.

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