Warns against controversies •
DPP withdraws from suit as independent prosecutor takes over
THE Chief Judge of Oyo State, Justice Muktar Abimbola, on Tuesday, ordered that murder trial of 28-year-old Yewande Oyediran (nee Fatoki), a lawyer with the Oyo State Ministry of Justice, who was alleged of unlawfully causing the death of her 38 years old husband, Oyelowo Oyediran, be expeditiously handled and successfully concluded before the commencement of the annual vacation of the High Court in July.
He further sought for the cooperation of all legal counsels and warned them to avoid controversies, adding that he would not give room for unnecessary adjournments in the matter as he had given every part room to prepare for trial.
Earlier when the case was called, the state Director of Public Prosecution, Tajudeen Abdulganiyu, had informed the court formally that he was withdrawing from the case to allow independent prosecutor appointed by the state take over the matter and the defence counsel and the counsel for a non-governmental organisation, Women Arise for Change that announced itself as an interested party raised no objections.
Also, lawyer to the deceased’s family, Chief Yomi Alliyu, raised no objections but thanked the state government for doing the right thing in the circumstance. The court consequently granted the application and allowed the private prosecutor take over the matter officially.
After announcing his appearance, the private prosecutor, Mr S.S. Akinyele, informed the court that he had filed his response to the Notice of Preliminary Objection to the charge which was filed by the defence team, asking the court to strike out the charge.
The lead defence counsel, Abioye Oloyede Asanike, had then raised the issue of the Women Arise for Change sending a legal representative, Mr Bolaji Alabi, to court to watch brief, stating that the court was bending over to accommodate people that should not be interested parties to be a part of the suit.
The court, however, ruled that it was not bending backwards for any party, adding that it was the fundamental right of any rights group to express interest in a matter and cautioned counsels to allow the matter go on and stop making the case controversial.
Consequently, the defence was called to argue its application and Mr Bayo Adegbite, who took the arguments, predicated the objection of the defence team on four grounds. According to him, the filing of ordinary charge or complaint was not a procedure for the trial of a capital offence of murder.
Further, he argued that the process wasn’t in conformity with the law and a clear violation to fair hearing of Yewande’s right, adding that the court lacked jurisdiction to hear the suit emanating from such a faulty process.
“The prosecution pitched their argument on Section 77 and 340 of the Criminal Procedure Act, it is thus a procedure and not a charge since it is lumped together. Both sections stand independently. It is trite law that there is no hybrid procedure in law, this is an innovation not allowed in criminal trial,” Adegbite said.
He also argued that the process filed was a mere paper that has no authority as it emanated from the office of the Directorate of Public Prosecution and not from the Attorney General as mandated by law and as such did not follow due process, asking the court to strike out the charge and declare it null and void.
In his response, the independent prosecutor stated that two issues were formulated, adding that the complaint of fair hearing was premature since trial had not commenced. According to him, Adegbite, in his argument, was shooting down a process that he himself had followed before as a law officer in the Oyo State Ministry of Justice and describing the argument as a guerrilla advocacy.