By Wahab Akinlade
Justice Sherifat Solebo of a Lagos Special Offences Court, Ikeja has discharged and acquitted a 28 year old man, Rasheed Olanrewaju of attempted arm robbery.
Olanrewaju was alleged to have sometimes in January 2019 at Ipodo market, attempted to rob a business woman in a shop, with a two plastic pistols (two toy guns).
The suspect was however remanded at the Kirikiri Prisons by an Ikeja Magistrates’ Court, pending the receipt of legal advice from the State Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).
The police prosecutor, Sgt. Michael Unah, said that the defendant and others, who are at large, had in their possession toy guns and other offensive weapons, and robbed Mrs Fehintola Komina of N2,000.
Following the DPP advice, the case was filed at the High Court, and the trial commenced with the prosecution counsel, Q.T Shomade calling two witnesses to prove the charge.
The statement of the suspect as well as the complainant statement was admitted in evidence.
The defendant counsel, Korede Adenuga called one witness, which is the defendant who testified alone in his defence.
After close of trial, both counsel in the matter filed and adopted their final written addresses.
However, while delivering judgment in the case, Justice Solebo said he had listened to the evidence of the witnesses together with the documents tendered.
The court held that, It is evidence of PW1 that he saw the crowd beat the defendant. As a police officer, he collected the toy gun found on him and reported it to the police station and it was registered as exhibits.
The judge held that during cross examination, the evidence of PW1 was not discredited. Noted that it was in evidence that the defendant was at the crime scene.
The PW1 was Special Anti Robbery Squard (SARS) officer who had told the court that he could not lay hands on the exhibit due to the disbandment of the SARS.
“The evidence of PW2 was amount to hearsay from the Pw1. They were not at the crime scene, (the shop of the complainant). The toy gun was not tendered. Moreover, the evidence of PW1 is partially hearsay.
After citing a plethora of decided cases, Justice Solebo said the court is bound to resolve the issue in favour of defence where there is evidence of doubt. ” In view of the circumstances of doubt, the defendant is hereby discharged and acquitted.”