Bamise’s Murder: Absence Of Defence Counsel Stalls BRT Driver’s Tria

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A photo collage of the victim Bamise and the BRT Bus

 

The trial of Andrew Ominikoron, the driver, of a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), who allegedly raped and murdered a 22-year-old fashion designer, Oluwabamise Ayanwola, failed to go on Tuesday owing to the absence of his lawyer, Abayomi Omotubora.

At the resumed hearing of the case before Justice Sherifat Sonaike of the Lagos High Court, sitting at Tafawa Balewa Square, the Director of Public Prosecutions, Dr Babajide Martins, announced his appearance for the state and informed the court that the defendant’s counsel, Abayomi Omotubora, is sick.

Martins said, ” I called Mr. Omotubora and he said he’s sick, and not able to come and I said did you write the court or sent a junior? He said, “no Sir, I apologise”.

“I informed him that we have another date on Thursday, and he said he’s aware. I just want the court to have it on record that we have three witnesses in court and one of them came from out of the jurisdiction. The three witnesses were also in court on June 1, when the defendant was not produced.”

After listening to the DPP, Justice Sonaike Judge adjourned to June 9, 2022, for the continuation of the trial.

At the last sitting of the court on June 1, 2022, the trial also failed to go on as the defendant was not produced in court owing to the ban on commercial motorcycles popularly known as Okada.

The Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, had on May 18, 2022, announced a total ban on the operations of an okada in six local government areas in the state with effect from June 1, 2022.

Following the development and a planned protest by the okada riders, the Controller of Prisons, Adebisi Adewale,  gave a directive- a temporary suspension of conveying inmates to various courts in the state due to intelligence and security reports of possible breakdown of law and order.

Following this development, Justice Sonaike adjourned the case to today, June 7 and 9, for the continuation of trial.

Background

The defendant, Andrew Nice Ominikoron, is facing a five-count charge bordering on rape, conspiracy, felony, sexual assault, and murder preferred against him by the Lagos State government.

The prosecution said that the defendant on November 25, 2021, allegedly raped a 29 year -old lady Nneka Maryjane Odezulu without her consent.

It said that the incident took place at about 7 pm, at the Lekki- Ajah Conservation Centre off the Lekki Ajah expressway in Lagos.

The DPP also told the court that Andrew Nice conspired with others now at large and forcefully had sexual intercourse with his 22-year-old passenger, Oluwabamise Ayanwole, a fashion designer without her consent after which he murdered her.

Dr Martins said the rape incident happened on February 25, 2022, at about 8 pm, on the Lekki-Ajah Conservation Expressway.

He said that the defendant and others still at large on February 26, 2022, unlawfully killed one Oluwabamise Ayanwole by throwing her out of a moving bus at Cater bridge after having sexual intercourse with her without her consent.

According to the prosecutor, the offences committed are contrary to and punishable under Sections 411, 223, 260, and 165 of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State, 2015.

When all the counts were read to the defendant, he pleaded not guilty to the charge against him.

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