Court sentences bricklayer, mechanic to 21 years in prison for bag-snatching

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An Ikeja High Court has sentenced a bricklayer, Ibrahim Olaore and a mechanic, Nurudeen Moshood, to 21 years in prison for snatching the handbag of a banker in Lagos.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that during Thursday’s virtual proceeding, Justice Yetunde Adesanya held that the prosecution had proved its case beyond reasonable doubt and found the defendants guilty of a two-count charge of conspiracy and robbery.

“Section 297(1) of the Criminal Law of Lagos 2011 provides that anyone found guilty of the offence of robbery shall be sentenced upon conviction to imprisonment of not less than 21 years.

“The above is a mandatory prescribed term of imprisonment and the position of the law is that where no discretion regarding sentence is to be exercised the period of incarceration before the accused is found guilty cannot be taken into consideration when sentence is being pronounced.

“My sentence is as follows, you Ibrahim Olaore and Nurudeen Moshood are hereby sentenced to a mandatory 21-year term of imprisonment with effect from today Thursday 21st May 2020. This is the judgment of the court,” Justice Adesanya said.

Earlier before the sentence, the counsel to the defendants, A. Onalaja, in her allocutus (plea for mercy), told the court to temper justice with mercy.

She noted that the defendants were young men in their twenties who still had their lives ahead of them.

“The defendants are in their prime of life, they are barely starting their lives. It is unfortunate that they have to start on this kind of note.

“I humbly plea that the court considers the ages of the defendants, the time they have spent in incarceration and also the fact that the second defendant (Moshood) is a father to a young child,” Ms Onalaja said.

According to the prosecution led by Adenike Oluwafemi, the defendants alongside Segun Ogunmola who is at large, committed the offences at 6.20 a.m. on April 24, 2016, at Foursquare Bus-stop, Ikotun, Lagos.

“The two defendants were on an unmarked motorcycle which was being driven by Ogunmola. They snatched the handbag of one Ms Blessing Popoola, who was on her way to church that Sunday morning.

“They were, however, apprehended about 30 minutes later by some youths who were on high alert due to the spate of motorcycle robberies in the area.

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Ms Popoola’s handbag containing her mobile phone, a Sterling Bank identity card and N4, 000 cash were recovered from the defendants,” Ms Oluwafemi said.

NAN reports that during the trial, Ms Popoola, the complainant, and Adekunle Adeshina, a police inspector at the Special Anti-robbery Squad (SARS) unit, testified on behalf of the prosecution while the two defendants testified in their defence.

Ms Popoola, while testifying in court, positively identified the defendants as the men who robbed her on her way to church.

The banker noted that hours after the robbery, she called her mobile phone which was picked by one Sgt Emeka who told her that the men who attacked her had been apprehended.

Ms Popoola noted that she was summoned to Ikotun Police Station to retrieve her belongings.

Messrs Olaore and Moshood in their testimonies denied committing the robbery and also knowing each other.

The defendants had said they were passengers on a motorcycle and they were accosted and overpowered by some youths along Governor Road, Ikotun, Lagos, and falsely accused of robbery.

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