The trial of four University of Lagos (UNILAG) undergraduates and an undergraduate of Babcock University (BU) who allegedly gang-raped a female student of UNILAG, was on Monday obstructed in an ikeja Domestic Violence and Sexual Offences Court due to change in counsel of one of the suspects.
The suspects, Moboluwaji, 19; Peace, 19; James, 20; Chuka, 19 and Josephine, 20 are alleged by the prosecution to be some of the students involved in the serial gang rape of a UNILAG student within the premises of the institution.
According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), following their arraignment on the 26th of February, 2019, James hired a new defense counsel, Lawal Pedro (SAN), a former Solicitor-General of Lagos State and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Justice.
The cross-examination of the complainant on Monday could however, not proceed due to Pedro’s request for an adjournment.
“My Lord, I just came into this matter and I am told that trial has begun. I thought the proceedings were for the only hearing of the bail application.
“In order for justice to be done, I will need time to study the proof of evidence in this case in order to properly cross-examine the witness.
“In order not to frustrate the trial, I apply that my cross-examination should be adjourned and the other counsel should proceed with their cross-examination,” Pedro stated.
Following Pedro’s submission, Justice Abiola Soladoye adjourned the case until May 2, 2019 for the continual of the trial.
The Counsels of all the five suspects applied for bail but the prosecution team, led by Mrs. Fehinti Ogbemudia and Mrs. Arinola Momoh-Ayokanbi, in response asked the court to reject the bail applications of the Babcock University and UNILAG students.
They noted that due to the prevalence of the offence and weightness of the punishment, the judge should deny the students bail and grant an accelerated hearing in the case.
Justice Soladoye adjourned the case till April 29 for ruling on Omowole. Chukwu, Nwankama and Osemeka’s bail applications and March 25 for the continuation of the haering of Aguedo’s bail application.