Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Driver Arraigned for murder case committed by his friend

Lagos State magistrate, A. O. Komolafe, on Monday criticised the police for arraigning a commercial bus driver, Akorede Hammed, for a murder that his friend was the suspect.

Komolafe said since the Osun State indigene was not the actual culprit for the offence and the real suspect was at large, it was wrong for him to be charged with murder.
The police had on February 28, 2015 in Ikorodu, found a corpse in a Sienna bus owned by one Joseph Emmanuel.
Emmanuel, when queried, said after he bought the vehicle in January, he handed it over to Hammed to use for commercial purpose and deliver N4, 000 daily on the bus.
Our correspondent learnt that a friend in the Ikorodu Park, where Hammed was using the bus, asked him for the permission to use the vehicle to work.
The friend, identified simply as Sunday, was said to have taken the vehicle away without returning it as promised.
The owner of the bus was said to have sighted it on the fateful day around 6pm on Igbe Road, Ikorodu, where it was abandoned.
He reportedly moved near the bus, opened the booth and found the butchered corpse of a young man.
Emmanuel was said to have reported the matter to the police at the Ikorodu Police Division and he was accompanied to the scene by some policemen.
The police subsequently arrested Hammed in February and detained him, pending when the person he gave the vehicle to would be arrested.
However, when there was no breakthrough on the matter, the suspect was arraigned on Monday for the crime.
The offence was said to be punishable under sections 231 and 221 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, Nigeria, 2011.
Explaining why Hammed was arraigned, the Investigating Police Officer from the State Criminal Investigation Department said the police learnt that Sunday and Hammed lived in the same house.
He said, “The accused person before the court is the driver of the bus. He was employed by the owner, Mr. Joseph Emmanuel, and mandated to deliver N4, 000 daily.
“On the fateful day, he gave the bus out to somebody else to drive without the knowledge of the owner. He had driven the bus in the morning before passing it to the person in the evening.
“It was the following day that the bus was found somewhere in Ikorodu; a corpse was in the booth.
“Our investigations showed that he and the person lived together and he could have been an accomplice.”
The magistrate was, however, angry at the police, saying their investigations were not thorough.
He said, “How do you say one person has committed an offence and you are arresting somebody else.
“This is a case of murder for which he could be hanged. Will you like to suffer for a crime you did not commit?
“This is one of the problems I have with the police because you don’t do your job well before bringing people to court.”
The absence of the complainant, who was the owner of the bus, also angered the magistrate.
He called for the case file and after perusing it, ordered that the charge be re-read to the defendant and his plea taken.
After the two counts were read, the defendant pleaded not guilty and elected summary trial.
His defence counsel, Ali Abba, asked for his bail in liberal terms.
The police prosecutor, ASP Elizabeth Ekuma, said, “While we recognise the fact that bail is at the discretion of the court, we will be objecting to the defence counsel’s application.”
Komolafe admitted the driver to bail in the sum of N200, 000 with two sureties in like sum.
He said one of the sureties must be a blood relation of the defendant and should show evidence of tax payment, among other conditions.
“The police should urgently duplicate the case file for legal advice from the Directorate of Public Prosecutions,” he added.
The matter was adjourned till June 8 for legal advice



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