A magistrate court has struck out the case against five students of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, accused of assaulting officials of the university.
The university management handed over the students to the police on March 21 for physically obstructing the eviction of students from a female hostel in the university.
On March 22, the police arraigned the students before the magistrate court sitting at Ajebandele, Ile Ife.
But after adjourning the trial for the sixth time, the magistrate on Thursday struck threw out the case against the accused for lack of diligent prosecution.
The five students, Gbenga Oloniniran, Oyedeji Samson, Olajide Adedamola, Jimoh Oladipupo and Adeniji John were initially remanded in court for one week by the magistrate, F. I. Omisade, after they failed to meet their bail conditions.
But the trial could not take off because the state counsel, A. O Ukoh, said he had not received legal advice due to lack of sufficient documents.
Addressing the court on Thursday, Mr Ukoh said the legal advice was still not ready.
“Unfortunately, the legal advice is not ready yet and we find it difficult to proceed without the issuance of the legal advice,” he said.
However, the defence counsel, Olalekan Olagunju, complained the accused students had suffered psychological trauma from the long delay of the matter and urged the court to let them off the hook.
“On the 21st of May, the state counsel argued that they will be in court today and be ready to proceed. My Lord conceded because of interest of justice, although we objected and pleaded that the case be struck out,” Mr Olalekan said.
“They were brought to court on March 22nd. My Lord, we call that the case be struck out due to negligence of the state and the school.”
The state counsel, Mr. Ukoh, pleaded with the court for more time tp prepare the prosecution but his appeal was rejected by the magistrate.
“Since the beginning of the matter there has been case of legal advice,” the magistrate said. “There were times the state counsel did not even come to court. Till today, the case still remains the same.”
He, therefore, struck out the case and discharged the students.
Reacting to the ruling, the students said it was a “historic moment for OAU community.”
Meanwhile, PREMIUM TIMES confirmed the university has blocked the online portal pages of some of the accused students, thus preventing them from registering for courses for the new academic session.