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Court Sentences Driver To Death, As Lagos Conducts First Virtual Court Session

Justice Mojisola Dada of the Lagos State High Court in Ikeja on Monday convicted and sentenced a driver, Olalekan Hameed, to death by hanging for the murder of the mother of his employer, Mrs Jolasun Okunsanya.

The court proceedings also marked the first time the Lagos State Judiciary will be conducting a virtual court session.

The state’s Chief Judge, Justice Kazeem Alogba, approved the Remote proceedings to test the technology and to keep the court open in spite of the COVID-19 Pandemic, which had disrupted judicial activities all over the country.

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The virtual court session, which was witnessed by Justice Alogba, other judges of the court, the Attorney General of the state and some senior lawyers, was conducted online via a video application “Zoom”.

The convict, his lawyers, the prosecution team led by Lagos State Solicitor-General Ms Titilayo Shitta-Bey and all witnesses participetd in the session remotely via the Zoom application.

Justice Dada conducted proceedings from High Court 10 in Ikeja, the convict was at Kirikiri Maximum Correctional Centre, Apapa while the lawyers were at different locations.

The convict was found guilty by Justice Dada of the two-count charge of murder and stealing brought against him by the Lagos State government.

Hameed was arraigned before the court on March 6, 2019 and he pleaded not guilty to the charge.

The prosecution told the court that the convict committed the offence at about 12:30pm at plot 83, Owukori Crescent, Alaka Estate, Surulere, Lagos.

The prosecution called witnesses and tendered exhibits including the coroner’s report, stolen N97,500 and $117 recovered from the defendant and a confessional statement, among others.

The convict testified in his own defence, denying the allegations, “the only money I took was the N1,000, any other money I don’t know about it. I did not kill Mrs Jolaso Ogunsanya.”

However in her judgment, Justice Dada held that prosecution witnesses testimonies that Hakeem was the only one with the deceased at the time of death and he was also seen scaling the fence of the deceased’s building afterwards, among others, were not disproved.

The judge held, “It is also an established fact that although the defendant went to the house of the victim to steal, the surprise of the deceased stumbling upon him led him to not just pushing the deceased, but actually strangulating her in a bid to keep her from crying out.

“The case is clear. I have not found any contradiction with the evidence of the prosecution witness that can be deemed material or weighty enough to cast any doubt on the case of the prosecution against the defendant in this case.

“The facts of the case are incompatible with the innocence of the defendant but rather his guilt on the two counts.

“The defendant is hereby found guilty of this count two of stealing and murder and is hereby convicted as charged and accordingly sentenced to death.

“The sentence of this court upon you, Olalekan Hameed, is that you be hanged by the neck until you be pronounced dead and may the Lord have mercy upon your soul. This is the virtual judgment of the court,” the judge held.

14th April 2024
Nigerian Pantagraph