A high court in Lagos on Wednesday has ruled Baba Ijesha’s confessional statement relevant and admissible
Recall that Baba Ijesha, had made a U-turn, disowning the confessional statement attributed to him in the charge bordering on sexual offences levelled against him.
Baba Ijesha noted that he was forced to sign the statement after thugs beat and tortured him to admit to the said offence.
He said he was beaten with a stick, forced to sit on the floor and sign the statement.
He also claimed that everything in the statement was dictated to the police by the complainant, Ms Damilola Adekola, otherwise known as Princess, a comedienne.
He was led in evidence by one of his counsel, Dada Awosika, SAN, during the trial-within-trial.
But on Wednesday Justice oluwatoyin Taiwo of the Sexual Offences Court In Ikeja, Lagos on Wednesday has rejected the claims by Nollywood actor, Olanrewaju James alias Baba Ijesha that he was tortured while making a confessional statement to the police.
Baba Ijesha is facing a six-count charge bordering on allegations of indecent treatment of a child, sexual assault, attempted sexual assault by penetration and sexual assault by penetration.
He has pleaded not guilty to the six-count charge.
In November, the judge ordered a trial-within-trial to determine whether his statement was voluntarily obtained. This was after Baba Ijesha had alleged during the testimony of the police inspector, Abigail Omane, who took his statement upon a report of alleged defilement, that she rough handled him and ordered him to sit on the floor during interrogation.
He added that the complainant, Damilola Adekoya allegedly supplied all the information on the statement which the officer wrote and that he was forced to sign it with a threat that he would be further detained if he refused.
On her part, Inspector Omane said she wrote the statements of both Princess and Baba Ijesha as they provided answers to her questions, and that they read the statements and signed afterwards, as they claimed they were too shaken to write.
She said by the time she arrived Princess’ residence upon the complaint, she met the defendant with his shirt torn. She added that he turned down her offer of sitting down during interrogation at the Sabo Police Station in April this year, as he said he preferred to sit on the floor so as to stretch his legs.
In the court’s ruling upon the close of the trial-within-trial on Wednesday, it held that there was No evidence to support the claims of torture or that the defendant signed the statement under duress.
In the words of the judge, “His claim that Inspector Abigail Promised to let him go early isn’t corroborated, it is her word against his.
Sitting on the floor doesn’t vitiate the confessional statement, the document is found to be relevant and admissible.”
After the ruling, the court admitted the statement as part of the exhibits in the trial.
The State government led by the Director of Public Prosecution, Olayinka Adeyemi then concluded the evidence of Inspector Omane, its sixth and last witness.
Upon the close of the prosecution’s case, the lead defence counsel, Kayode Olabiran told the court that it would be filing a no-case submission to challenge the state government’s evidence linking Baba Ijesha to the offences.
The court adjourned hearing till January 26 for both sides to adopt addresses in the defence’ no-case submission.