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Court sentences Ondo Pastor to two years imprisonment for slander

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An Ondo State High Court sitting in Akure has sentenced a pastor, John Abiodun, to two years imprisonment for telling lies and publishing false allegation against a church founder. 

Abiodun was arrested in 2019 for lying against the Founder of Promiseland Prophetic Ministry, Akure, Pastor Gbenga Akinbiyi, and that seven placentas were planted under the church’s altar. 

The convict, a former member of the church, located at Sasha area of Akure metropolis, was said to have sworn to an affidavit before the Commissioner for Oaths, on the matter.

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Abiodun, alongside a lecturer of the Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba Akoko, Prof. Lanre Olu-Adeyemi, were later arraigned on an eight-count charge bordering on conspiracy, publications of false information, perjury, impersonation, threatening violence, amongst others.

The second defendant, Olu-Adeyemi, was the administrator of the WhatsApp group through which the false publication and accusation were passed to defame the church founder. 

During the court proceedings, both prosecutors and defendants called various witnesses. While delivering the judgment, the trial Judge, Justice Bode Adegbehingbe, found the first defendant (Abiodun) guilty of count five of the charge for contradicting himself while giving evidence in the allegation against him.

Adegbehingbe found Abiodun guilty of committing perjury, which is punishable under Section 118 of Criminal Code, Laws of Ondo state. 

The Judge also held that in law, anybody found guilty of perjury was liable to life or 14 years imprisonment, but due to the plea by the defence Counsel, Mr. Olanrewaju Adesanmi, who pleaded leniency, he reduced the jail term, ruling: “The first defendant is hereby sentenced to two years imprisonment.”

The second defendant was discharged and acquitted as the court found the investigation conducted by the Police on his involvement in the matter as shoddy. 

Prosecuting Counsel, Mr. Kayode Dare, expressed satisfaction with the judgment, saying the court had vindicated Akinbiyi and other members of his church as it concerned burying of placentas under the altar.

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