Prosecutors from the Lagos State Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP) on Thursday opposed the bail application made by counsels to Olanrewaju Omiyinka, popularly known as Baba Ijesha.
Mr Omiyinka was arraigned before Oluwatoyin Taiwo, a judge of the Ikeja Special Offences Court, Lagos.
The lead state prosecutor, Olayinka Adeyemi, who is also a director at the DPP, opposed the bail application, saying there is likelihood that Mr Omiyinka would jump bail if granted, considering the consequences of the offences, if convicted.
Mr Omiyinka was arraigned on a six-count charge bordering on sexual assault by penetration, indecent treatment of a child, and attempted sexual assault by penetration.
Count one of the charge reads that Olanrewaju James a.k.a “Baba Ijesha sometime in 2013-2014, around Joseph Harrison Street, Iwaya, Yaba, Lagos, in the Ikeja Judicial Division, did aexually assault one Ajose Oluwabukumi (5) aged 7 years by penetrating her vagina with your car key.”
Count two states that within the aforementioned period, the defendant indecently treated the minor by placing her on his laps and rubbing his penis on her body.
Other counts against Mr Omiyinka include touching the minor’s body indecently, sucking her fingers, and touching her in a sexual manner.
While the prosecution was led by Mrs Adeyemi and comprised officials of the DPP and the state’s Justice ministry, the defence was represented by Babatunde Ogala and Dada Awosika, both Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANS), and 17 other lawyers.
Mr Omiyinka informed the court he would prefer that the charges be read to him in Yoruba.
Thereafter, he pleaded not guilty to all the charges.
Mrs Adeyemi sought an adjournment in the case to enable them bring a medical report to tender as evidence in the matter.
Counsel to the defendant, Mr Ogala, opposed the application for adjournment, saying the matter is not yet for trial and there is an application for bail for defendant.
“If they insist on seeking an adjournment, he should be given bail and the party can come counter later,” he said.
The judge said she would hear the bail application of the defendant.
Mr Ogala told the court that Mr Omiyinka through his legal counsels have brought another application seeking his release from custody.
The popular actor has been in detention since April 22.
His counsel said the application for bail is brought pursuant to sections 115 and sections 2 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law of Lagos State and sections 35 and 36 of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“The said application is supported by 29 paragraph affidavit deposed to one Akinbowale James Omiyinka, the younger brother of the defendant based on personal knowledge and facts supplied to him by the defendant (applicant).
“I would wish to note that the issue of bail especially in an offence of this nature is a constitutional right. We need not even give any medical reason, since the right that the defendant enjoyed which he has been deprived of in the past months where he was unlawfully held by the police,” Mr Ogala said.
He urged the court not to allow the continuous detention of the actor given that section 36 subsection 5 of ACJL clearly states that every person charged with a criminal offence shall be presumed innocent until proven guilty.
The lawyer urged the court to keep the accused out of incarceration until found guilty in a court trial as this will grant him free access to his lawyers and adequate preparation for his defence.
Making reference to the counter affidavit filed by the prosecution team, Mr Ogala said they were not enough reasons to deny the actor bail.
“Other than a feeble attempt in paragraph seven which says the offense for which the defendant is said to have committed is now rampant in the society. The counter affidavit supports that the defendant ought to be granted bail,” he said.
Mr Ogala submitted that part of the offences listed against his client is the defilement of a minor seven years ago, for which there was no investigation, report or medical examination.
“I urge the court to grant the applicant bail and discountenance the opposition as nothing has been shown as to why he should not be granted bail,” he submitted.
The lead prosecutor, Mrs Adeyemi, opposed the bail application for Mr Omiyinka, saying there is likelihood that he would jump bail if granted, considering the consequences of the offences of convicted.
The state wrote a 14 paragraph counter affidavit and a written address dated June 23.
“The nature of the offence – sexual assault by penetration which carries live imprisonment and that is a serious offence.
“Grant of bail is not constitutional right, it is a discretionary right. Granting of bail must be granted judicial and certain conditions must be met,” she said.
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Mrs Adeyemi said part of the considerations of the court is the nature of the offence committed.
The prosecutor disclosed there are six witnesses in the case and one of them is in court.
“There is a Prima Facie case against the defendant and due to the rampancy of the crime charged against the defendant, bail should not be granted.
“Our submission this morning is that my Lord, based on all our arguments charged before this court and evidence supporting the charge and the fact that the offense carries a very serious punishment and the rampancy of this offence, bail should be denied,” she submitted.
Mrs Taiwo stood down the matter for ruling.
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