The police team leader who investigated the death of a 22-year old fashion designer, Oluwabamise Ayanwola, who was alledgedly raped and murdered by the driver of Bus Rapid Transit, Andrew Nice Ominikoron, Goddy Ihende has told Justice Sherifat Sonaike of the Lagos State High Court sitting in Tafawa Balewa Square, how a passerby reported the case at Ebute-Ero Police station.
Giving evidence on Monday, the superintendent of Police Ihende told the court that the case was originally reported as a kidnapping case.
According to him, the police later discovered that it was not a case of kidnap but a case of death when the case went viral.
The seventh prosecution witness, Ihende said after the discovery, he and his boss Assistant Superintendent of Police Razak Oseni, went to the Directorate of State Security, DSS, office and took over the case.
While being cross-examined by the defence counsel Mr. Abayomi Omotubora, explained that he got to know that the case was with the DSS.
He stated futher, “I don’t know how my Commissioner of Police got to know that it was with the DSS.”
Asked if he could name the Police Investigative Officer that investigated the case at Ebute Ero Police Station, he answered, “I can’t remember the name of the IPO, but it was an ASP. I am not the direct IPO of this case. I am the team leader.
He was also asked if he took statement from the complainant, Ihende replied that it’s not in his position to obtain statement from the complainant.
“After the Police officers at Ebute-Ero discovered the body, they took the corpse to the mortuary and we started the investigation afresh. As of the time the case was reported at Ebut-Ero, the defendant was not in the picture so the case, I investigated was murder.”
Meanwhile, the case which was adjourned for trial within trial came up following the appearance of the prosecution counsel, Mr. M. A. Olateju, just as Justice Sonaike asked both counsel to address her on the reason for the trial within trial.
Omotubora said the defence application was argued on Section 29(2)b of the Evidence Act.
He insisted that the statement of the defendant was taken by way of torture, oppression and undue influence.
He also said that what amounts to confession is determined by the case and cited Section 28 of the Evidence Act, he however urged the judge to tackle it carefully.
Responding to the defence counsel’s submission, Olateju said that it was unfortunate that the interpretation given to Section 29(2)b of the Evidence Act, is not the intendant of that Section.
“The statement of the defendant has no confession in nature. There is no where the defendant admitted any of the charge before the Court, more so when the defendant’s counsel will have the opportunity to cross-examine the witness.
“The defendant will be afforded the chance to state his claim. I urge the court to allow the defendant to be cross-examined.”
Following both sides arguments, Justice Sonaike in a short ruling declined the trial within trial.
She said, “I have read the statements of the defendant made on March 7, 8 and 9, 2022 and that of May 5, 2022. And I have looked at the provisions of Sections 29 of the Evidence Act and Section 28 which defines Evidence Act.
“I have read the statement of the defendant severally and it is not confessional in nature, and the section cited does not support the offence in the charge.
“The offence which is rape, conspiracy to murder, murder and sexual assault. The defendant had denied all through the statement, the trial within trial is hereby declined.”
Before the ruling, the trial judge frowned at the defence counsel’s request, stating that he should stop running the integrity of the court in the mud.
Justice Sonaike cautioned him, “Because you are representing a defendant doesn’t mean you should run the integrity of the Court in the mud”.
However she admitted all the statements of the defendant in evidence and adjourned the case till December 5, for continuation of trial.
During previous proceedings before today, the witness told the court that Ominikoron always rapes his victims in secluded places.
He claims that the modus operandi of the defendant was that he always carries his victims alone and goes to secluded places to rape them.
Justice Sonaike, adjourned the case till December 5 for continuation of trial.
Ominnikoron 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 8:00p.m at Lekki-Ajah Conservation Centre Lekki-Ajah Expressway, Lagos.
The prosecution also told the court that Ominnikoron conspired with others now at large to commit rape and murdered his 22-year-old passenger, Oluwabamise Ayanwola, a fashion designer.
It said that the defendant had sexual intercourse with Oluwabamise Ayanwola, without her consent and murdered her, at about 7:00p.m, between Lekki-Ajah Expressway and Carter bridge, on February, 26, 2022.
The prosecution also said that the defendant and others at large on February 26, 2022, unlawfully killed one Oluwabamise Ayanwola by throwing her out of a moving bus between Lekki-Ajah Expressway and Cater bridge.
The defendant was also accused of sexually assaulting a-29-year old woman one Victoria Anieke, on December 29, 2021, between Ikorodu and Mile 12 area of Lagos State.
According to the prosecutor, the offences committed is contrary to and punishable under Sections 411, 223, 260 and 165 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.