Embattled Yoruba actor and comedian, Olanrewaju James, alias Baba Ijesha has dropped plans to file a no-case submission in his trial before an Ikeja Special Offences over allegations of rape.
When a no-case submission is made, it means that the defendant is asking the court for an acquittal without it having to present a defence.
Baba Ijesha is charged with six counts of indecent treatment of a child, sexual assault, attempted sexual assault by penetration and sexual assault by penetration.
NAN reports that during proceedings on December 15, 2021, the defence counsel, Kayode Olabiran informed the court that the defendant had no case to answer and intends to file a no-case submission at the next court date.
However, during Tuesday proceedings, A.O Alo, a defence counsel informed the court that the defence team had made a change of plans after a review of the case with the defendant.
“The defendant after the review has decided to put in his defence and we have decided not to file the no-case submission again.
“Given this, we will be humbly praying that the court should give us a short adjournment,” he said.
Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo however queried the request of the defence counsel for an adjournment, noting that there was sufficient time from the last proceedings on Dec.15, 2021, to prepare a defence.
She said that Baba Ijesha should enter the witness box to commence his defence.
Reacting, Mr Alo revealed that it was his first time appearing in court for the case despite being a representative of the law firm of one of the lead defence counsels, Dada Awosika.
“My lord, the learned Silk is indisposed. The other lead defence counsel, Mr Babatunde Ogala, SAN, has also communicated to the court that he is also indisposed,” he said.
Opposing the request for adjournment, Babajide Martins, Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) described the excuse of the defence counsel as “quite unfortunate”.
Mr Martins noted as the recently appointed DPP, he is also appearing before the court for the first time.
He noted that there was no law for conditional representation and once a lawyer appears before a court, it is presumed that he carries out his legal representative duties to the letter.
The judge took note of the fact that both the DPP and the defence counsel were appearing in the case for the first time.
Justice Taiwo said she will also give the two SANs, who represent Baba Ijesha the benefit of the doubt.
“I will grant the defendant the indulgence of an adjournment because both or either of the learned silks (SANs) have always appeared in court.
“This case is adjourned until February 17 and 18 at 1 pm for defence,” she said.
NAN reports that the defendant was arraigned on June 24, 2021. On December 15, 2021, the prosecution closed its case against him.
Six prosecution witnesses testified against the Nollywood actor; they were actress and comedienne, Damilola Adekoya, alias Princess who is also the foster mother of the minor.
Others were the 14-year-old minor, a child expert, Mrs Olabisi Ajayi-Kayode, a medical doctor, Dr Aniekan Makanjuola, the Investigating Police Officer (IPO), ASP Wahab Kareem and a policewoman, Insp Abigail Omane.
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