Sexual Assault: Lagos Special Offences Court Sentence Actor Baba Ijesha To Prison
Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo of the Ikeja Special Offences Court on Thursday sentenced Nigerian actor Olanrewaju Omiyinka a.k.a Baba Ijesha to 16 years imprisonment, which is to run concurrently.
He was found guilty of four counts of sexual assault.
Baba Ijesha is charged with indecent treatment of a child, sexual assault, attempted sexual assault by penetration, and sexual assault by penetration.
The Lagos State Directorate of Public Prosecutions, which brought the charges against the actor, claimed that the offences violated Sections 135, 137, 261, 202, 262, and 263 of the Lagos State Criminal Law 2015, which mandates life imprisonment for offenders.
Baba Ijesha pled not guilty to all charges. In court, however, a Closed-Circuit Television video recording detailing his relationship with the victim, who was said to be a minor, was shown.
In his decision, Justice Taiwo stated that the prosecution failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was guilty of all charges brought against him.
She did, however, find the defendant guilty on four of the six counts brought against him.
Baba Ijesha was found guilty of counts 2, 3, 4, and 5.
He was sentenced to three years in prison for count two, five years for count three, three years for count four, and five years for count five.
According to the judge, the sentences will run concurrently for five years.
On June 24, 2021, the defendant was arraigned. Six prosecution witnesses testified against him during the trial.
Princess, the 14-year-old minor, Mrs Olabisi Ajayi-Kayode, a child expert, and Dr Aniekan Makanjuola, a medical doctor, were among them.
The Investigating Police Officer, ASP Wahab Kareem, and a policewoman, Inspector Abigail Omane, were also present.
The DPP’s case against the defendant was closed on December 15, 2021, while Baba Ijesha called four witnesses and closed its defence on April 1.
Baba Ijesha (defendant) and Mr Lawrence Ayeni, an expert in video production and CCTV installation and maintenance, testified for the defence.
Mr Olukayode Olugbemi, a clinical psychologist, and Mr Olukayode Ogunbanjo, a friend and colleague of the defendant, also testified for the defence.
In his final written address, dated May 12 and filed on May 16, defence counsel, Mr Dada Awosika (SAN), urged the court to dismiss the suit and discharge the defendant.
Awosika claimed that the CCTV footage was obtained illegally.
He had stated, “In the interest of justice, exhibit A which was the CCTV footage that recalled the event was illegally obtained.
“The exhibit was not tendered by the maker. It was tendered by Princess, the complainant.”
He claimed that the recording had been tampered with, noting that the defendant did not go to the complainant’s house uninvited.
He also claimed that the defendant’s alleged confessional statement violated Section 9 (3) of the Lagos State Administration of Criminal Justice Law (ACJL) 2021.
“The Evidence Act allows legislation to guide the admissibility of documents before the court. ACJL has stated that if a confessional statement is to be used, it must meet some certain degree by ACJL which is not applied in this case.
“We urge the court to discredit the confessional statement. The defendant moved in a jiffy to participate in a short skit that put him in trouble. My Lord, my client was trapped.
“Concerning the age of the girl in question, Exhibits D and E are not saying the same thing.
“It is our submission, My Lord, that the court is bound to call the biological mother inside the box to tell us her real age or her birth certificate or scientific evidence is tendered to ascertain the age but none was done.
“The prosecution agreed that the age of the minor must be established. However, it has also agreed that nothing has been done to provide the real age,” Awosika said.
However, in his final written address dated May 31, the Director of DPP, Dr Babajide Martins, urged the court to convict Baba Ijesha as charged.
He claimed that one of the defence witnesses, Mr Lawrence Ayeni, testified in court that the CCTV footage could not be manipulated.
“On the issue of the CCTV recording My Lord, the first defence witness (Ayeni) told this honourable court during cross-examination that it cannot be manipulated and that the content of CCTV cannot be changed.
“Most importantly, he said he cannot say if the sexual assault did not happen. These are the testimonies from the defence witness My Lord.
“The defendant admitted to have been with the girl in both the incident that happened seven years ago and the one that happened in 2021.
“He also admitted to have sucked her fingers during the cross-examination.
“On the issue of ACJL, the primary legislation supersedes the secondary legislation.
“On the issue of a medical certificate, the defendant said he did not have any issue with the medical doctor and had never met him when I cross-examined him.
“As a result, he has no reason to mislead the court,” Martins said.
Martins also told the court that a child was anyone under the age of 18 and that the prosecution had proven that the girl was under the age.
According to the DPP, the defendant also admitted during the trial that he never mentioned to the police that he was acting a script when he was detained at Sabo and Panti.