By Abimbola Akindunbi
No fewer than 14 residents of Ogbese in Akure North Local Government Area of Ondo State have been sentenced to cutting grasses around the Ogbese main market by the Osi Chief Magistrate Court, for flouting the curfew imposed by the state government.
Magistrate Bukola Ojo sentenced the 14 offenders to community service ranging between one and seven days by cutting the grass around the main Ogbese market.
Thirty of the residents were arraigned before the Chief Magistrate Court sitting in Akure for flouting the COVID-19 curfew.
Ten out of the first batch of 23 defaulters, brought before Magistrate Ojo, out rightly pleaded guilty and they were pardoned to go and sin no more.
However, 11 defaulters who initially pleaded not guilty changed their plea. But they were still convicted and sentenced to one day of community service during which they will cut the grass around Ogbese market axis.
Magistrate Ojo admitted a defendant, Francis Ifeanyi to N50,000 bail and a responsible surety in like sum after he pleaded not guilty to the two counts charge of assaulting a security guard while breaching the COVID-19 curfew in Bolorunduro about 9:45pm.
Also, one man who pleaded not guilty was convicted and sentenced to 5 days community sentencing while another who had jumped bail was given N2,000 fine.
When the second batch 7 offenders were also brought before the Magistrate Court, the prosecutor, Corporal Kolawo Sulaiman informed that he has already lined up his witnesses to prosecute the case.
Upon arraignment, two of them, Shedrach Adi and Bidemi Samuel pleaded guilty and magistrate Ojo convicted them to 7 days of community sentencing during which they will cut the grass around Ogbese market for 2 hours every day.
Four others, Joseph Emmanuel, David Ajasco, Tolu Ayodele, and Victor Chukwuwedu, pleaded not guilty while their counsel, Utenwojo Salihu applied for their bail as well as prayed that trial should henceforth hold behind closed doors.
Magistrate Ojo, in her ruling admitted the suspects to N50,000 bail with a responsible surety (family member) each in like sum.
She also upheld the prayer of the prosecutor, that there was no big deal in having an open door sitting since the suspects are adults and their arraignment is to serve as a deterrent to others.
The court adjourned till June 2, 3 and 5, this year.
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