From Priscilla Ediare, Ado Ekiti
An Ekiti State High Court sitting in Ado Ekiti has discharged and acquitted a fifty-year-old man of the offence of murder.
According to the charge, Omobulejo Olawale on the 29th of October, 2017 at Lagarita Bar, Ado Ekiti ‘did murder one Ayeni Temitope, contrary to Section 316 and punishable under section 319 (1) of the Criminal Code Cap 16, Laws of Ekiti State, 2012.’
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In his statement to the police, one of the bar attendants said the deceased was the manager of the bar as well as a friend to the defendant. He said the defendant came to the bar on that day and was there till around 10:35 pm, adding that an argument ensued between them. He said the defendant broke a bottle and stabbed the deceased on his left arm; the deceased lost a lot of blood before he was taken to Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital where he later died and was deposited at the hospital morgue, he concluded.
In his defence, the defendant denied the allegation. He said the late Temitope was his very close friend. He informed the court that the deceased and some guests who came for bachelor’s eve in the bar had been fighting before he came to where he was and started blaming him for not joining him to fight those people. ‘I did not answer him because he was heavily drunk,’ he said. ‘When he became uncontrollable, I left the scene. I later heard that the deceased had been injured by a broken bottle. I joined others to take him to the hospital where he later died,’ he concluded.
To prove his case, the prosecutor, Julius Ajibare, called one witness and exhibit tendered including the defendant’s statements, the deceased photographs, among others.
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The defendant spoke in his own defence through his counsel Kola Kolade and called no witnesses.
Delivering his judgment, Justice Lekan Ogunmoye said: ‘There was no eye witness of the account of the incident. It was the evidence of the Investigating Police Officer that the investigation revealed that the deceased was heavily drunk with alcohol at the time of the incident. There was no circumstantial evidence before me which pointed irresistibly towards the defendant as a person that intentionally killed the deceased.
‘The prosecution has failed to establish the guilt of the defendant beyond a reasonable doubt.
‘The sole issue for determination is accordingly resolved against the prosecution. The defendant is discharged and acquitted,’ the judge ruled.