By Sunmola Olowookere
A High Court of Justice sitting in Akure, the Ondo state capital has discharged and acquited four men, of the four-count charge of conspiracy, armed robbery, illegal possession of firearms and rape brought against them for lack of vital witnesses.
The men; Falade Ayomide, Matthew Adeyeye, Ahmed Kazeem and Kayode Adewole, were alleged to have commited the offences in 2014 and were remanded at Olokuta Medium Security Prisons pending the determination of their case.
According to the prosecution, from the information made available by the police, the four men were alleged to have been notorious for causing mayhem around the Iro axis of the Akure metropolis.
According to their charge, the defendants were alleged to have robbed one Charles Julius of 50 thousand naira, a generating set and a plasma TV, while they were armed with offensive weapons.
They were also alleged to have raped the wife of the robbery victim during the attack.
On the same date, they were also alleged to have robbed one Bode Oluwole of his seven thousand naira, while also armed.
While reading the judgement, the presiding judge, Justice Samuel Bola observed that only the police witness came to testify in the case.
The witness, one Sergeant Shehu Kudehinbu said that three of the defendants were arrested by one police officer, while the fourth defendant was said to be their armoury who keep their loots and weapons.
During the trial, the prosecution could only call the police witness to testify in the case.
The defense opened its case and called the first defendant to testify in the case who man who arrested him was not the one who came to testify in the case.
He said the police man who arrested him did so out of spite and jealousy, as they were both cousins in a popular family at Iro where they worship Ogun.
He stated that the rivalry started when the family began to give him much recognition over the police man whom he called “Sunkanmi”.
He further claimed that the gun that was said to be retrieved from him was taken by the same Sunkanmi at the Ogun shrine in their backyard, with the ulterior motive of framing him with it.
The presiding judge, Justice Samuel Bola, while delivering his judgement stated that conviction for such charges such as the ones brought against the defendants required vital witnesses which would help the prosecution to establish it’s case.
He observed that the prosecution could not bring in the robbery and rape victims and the police man who was said to have arrested the defendants.
In view of this, he discharged and acquited the defendants for lack of evidence against them.