An Ikeja High Court on Thursday found a barber, Sunday Kenneth, not guilty of the charges of conspiracy and armed robbery, six years after incarceration in the Kirikiri Medium Correctional Centre for the alleged crimes.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Justice Josephine Oyefeso, in a judgment read during a virtual proceeding, said the prosecution did not prove his case against the defendant beyond reasonable doubt.
Oyefeso said the prosecution failed to present material witnesses, especially the complainant before the court during the trial and that there was also no concrete evidence against the defendant in the case.
“The victim of the offence, Alhaji Adenekan Olalekan, was not called by the prosecution, thereby denying the court the benefit of hearing his direct testimony and the defence, the benefit of cross-examining him.
“Apart from the testimony of the first Prosecution Witness (PW1), there is nothing before the court to show that there was an armed robbery. The weapon allegedly used was not tendered in evidence.
“The evidence before the court is at best wishy-washy and the defendant cannot be convicted on evidence that lacks substance.
“I am not able to rely on the evidence of PW1. His evidence is not detailed and convincing; he could not remember what time the incident took place.
“I find you Sunday Kenneth not guilty as charged on counts one and two and you are accordingly discharged and acquitted,” Justice Oyefeso said.
Reacting to the judgment, the Defence Counsel, Mr Adedamola Akapo, expressed his gratitude to the court.
“I can see that justice has indeed been served, I am very grateful,” he said.
According to the prosecution led by Mr Oladeinde Azeez, the defendant alongside others who are at large, while armed with a firearm and other dangerous weapons, committed the offences on Feb. 25, 2014 at the Odogunyan area of Ikorodu, Lagos.
“The defendant and his accomplices robbed a motorist, one Alhaji Adenekan Olalekan of his Toyota Camry saloon car with registration number LSD791BU, two mobile phones, a wristwatch and N35,000,” the prosecution alleged.
During the trial, the Investigating Police Officer, Sgt. Christian Ugu, testified solely for the prosecution while the defendant also testified.
Kenneth, while testifying in his defence, had said that though he was solely standing trial for the alleged crimes, he was arrested by the police alongside two others for the alleged robbery.
He told the court that after his arrest, an identification parade was conducted by the police and that the Complainant, Alhaji Olalekan had, on sighting him, told the police that he was not one of the men who had robbed him.