Law News
Judge’s absence stalls trial of murder suspect

Absence of trial judge, Justice Oluwatoyin Ipaye, of a Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja, has stalled the trial of Seun Oladapo,  a suspected killer of a Lagos-based human rights crusader, Kunle Fadipe.

Justice Ipaye, who has been sitting since inception of the long vacation for judges in the state, on Monday, joined her colleagues to observe her own holiday.

It would be recalled that  the  Chief Judge of Lagos State, Justice Funmilayo Atilade, in pursuant to Order 45 Rule 4 (D) of the High Court of Lagos State (Civil Procedure) Rules 2012 had approved July 22 to September 17, 2015 as dates for the long vacation of judges in Lagos.

Justice Ipaye had on July 22 fixed August 17  for commencement of trial after taking the plea of the defendant . Oladapo (defendant) was arraigned on five count charge bordering on Murder, Robbery and Assault Occasioning Harm- contrary to Section 221, 295 (2)(a) and 171 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State 2011.

The charge in part read: “Oluwaseun Oladapo  on the 4th day of July 2014 at about. 0300hr at No. 1, Harmony Estate, Ifako-Ijaiye, Iju Lagos in the Ikeja Judicial Division whilst armed with an offensive weapon to wit a knife did; rob one Kunle Fadipe of a large sum of money and murdered him by stabbing him severally on numerous parts of the body.

“Murdered one Cecilia Owolabi by stabbing her on the chest, assault one Abiola Owolabi and Folahanmi Fadipe by stabbing them with a knife.” However, when the charge was read to the defendant, he pleaded not guilty. Subsequently, his counsel, Worer Obuagbaka, urged the court to grant him time to study the proof of evidence that was just served on him.

“My perusal of the proof of evidence, there was autopsy report available. This is a serious offence and the defendant need adequate time to prepare for the trial,” he said. The prosecution counsel led by the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Mrs Idowu Alakija, told the court of their readiness to proceed with trial since two witnesses were in court.

After listening to counsel on both sides, Justice Ipaye held that the defence should be given sufficient time and adjourned till August 17 and 18, 2015. It was gathered that  Fadipe was stabbed to death on the night of July 4, 2014 by an assailant, at his residence in Harmony Estate, Ifako-Ijaiye area of Lagos.

The alleged assailant was apprehended by the community vigilante group and charged before Yaba Magistrate Court in Lagos before he was transferred to the state high court.

 

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