Rape suspect discharged after eight years remand

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Justice Ramon Oshodi of the Ikeja Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Court, Lagos State, on Monday, discharged a defendant, Muyideen Bilau, of rape charges for want of diligent prosecution.

Bilau was in prison custody for eight years and nine months.

The defendant, who was arrested on April 5, 2014, was remanded on April 14, 2014, and was never tried because the prosecution failed to present a witness.

At the resumed hearing of the case on Monday, the prosecuting counsel, Bukola Okeowo, announced her appearance, while the defence counsel, Yusuf Nurudeen, also announced his appearance.

However, Okeowo told the court that the case was slated for the commencement of trial but witnesses were not in court.

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In his response, Nurudeen asked the court to strike out the case for want of diligent prosecution as the case had been adjourned on many occasions at the instance of the prosecution.

He said the defendant was first remanded by the magistrates’ court on April 14, 2014, after he was arrested on April 5, 2014.

Nurudeen stated that on September 30, 2021, the defendant was arraigned for a sexual offence before this court and since then, the prosecution had not called any witness.

“Upon his arraignment, the court gave accelerated hearing and on June 16, 2022, the prosecution made the same application and on October 14, 2022, the same application was made by the prosecution.

“Our application is that this case should be struck out for want of diligent prosecution and Section 231 (1) gives this court the ultimate power to strike out this case for want of diligent prosecution,” he added.

The prosecution did not oppose the application of the counsel.

In a short ruling on the matter, Oshodi struck out the case and discharged the defendant.

The judge held, “I have carefully listened to the defence counsel to strike out the case; the application succeeds.

“The defendant is discharged but not acquitted.”

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