Justice Oyebola Ojo of an Osun state High Court, Osogbo, has adjourned the judgment in the case of alleged murder of a Master’s student of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) Ile-Ife, Timothy Adegoke, to one month.
The owner of the hotel where the late Adegoke lodged on November 7, 2021, before he was declared missing and later found dead, Dr Rahmon Adedoyin, Magdalene Chiefuna (24), Adeniyi Aderogba (37), Oluwale Lawrence (37), Oyetunde Kazeem (38), Adebayo Kunle (35) and Adedeji Adesola (23), were arraigned in March 2022 on 11 count charges bothering on conspiracy, unlawful killing, attempt to commit felony with killing, dumping of remains of Adegoke inside bush, improper and indecent interference with the body of the deceased.
When the case came up on Thursday, counsel to the defendants, Mallam Yusuf Alli SAN and K. K. Eleja SAN (1st defendant), Muritala AbduRosheed SAN (2nd, 4th, 5th) Dr Rowland Otaru SAN (3rd, 6th) and Okon Ita for the 7th defendant, challenged the authority of Mr Femi Falana SAN to prosecute the matter, saying he was not given fiat by the Attorney General as demanded by law.
According to the counsels, a private lawyer can not prosecute a case on behalf of the state government without getting the fiat from the Attorney General, urging the court to dismiss all the proceedings conducted by Falana for lack of locus standi to prosecute the case.
Responding, Falana SAN posited that he had the power to prosecute the case, adding that the defendants lacked the right to challenge his locus standi.
He submitted that if the court considered the prayers of the defendants’ counsels, it implies that the case should start afresh or the Attorney General should engage the service of another lawyer.
“In the interest of the defendants who have been languishing in prison, the court should dismiss the locus application,” Falana prayed.
Adopting their final addresses after the motions, Alli SAN submitted that “From all the evidence, the only offence Adedoyin committed was that he was the owner of the hotel, saying mere ownership of property is not a crime anywhere in the world.”
Other counsels also argued that the prosecution had not proved any case against the defendants saying, “There is no confessional statement. The prosecution relied on circumstantial evidence. The entirety of the prosecution is based on suspicion.”
They all urged the court to discharge the defendants and acquit them on all the counts leveled against them.
Falana SAN said, “We have established the link between the charge and the defendants. If the court finds that the defendants have no case, we are not persecuting, but where evidence has been established, the law should take its course.”
After listening to the motions and addresses of the parties, Justice Ojo promised that the date of judgment would be communicated to the parties within one month.