The Magistrates’ Court 8 sitting at Iyaganku in Ibadan, Oyo State, on Tuesday struck out the case brought against a fashion designer, Lukman Adeniyi, by the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) in charge of Iyaganku Division, CSP Alex Sani Gwazah, over alleged malicious damage.
The complainant, CSP Gwazah who had not been in court since the commencement of the case, had arraigned Adeniyi through a charge sheet he signed himself as the complainant, over claims that the designer damaged the clothes he gave him to sew.
Adeniyi was first arraigned on Tuesday, November 3, at the court, in a case with suit number MI/881C/2020. The case was charged to court as a criminal one, as the DPO claimed malicious damage.
The DPO was not present in court on the first day of arraignment, and the magistrate sitting over the case, Olajumoke Akande, had adjourned the case till Tuesday, November 17, for hearing.
On Tuesday, the police prosecutor, Sergeant Gbemisola Adedeji, informed the court that the complainant was not available because he was a member of the panel hearing cases on #EndSARS protests set up by the Oyo State government.
But the defence counsel disputed this, saying that the DPO was not a member of the panel, and could not have attended a meeting he was not invited to be part of.
The counsel also informed the court that according to Section 352 subsection 1, Administration of Criminal Justice Law of Oyo State, 2016, if a complainant was not in court to present his case, then the case is bound to be dismissed.
In her ruling, Akande struck out the case and discharged the fashion designer.
The magistrate had stated that if the case was important to the nominal complainant, then, no matter the assignment he was having, he ought to have taken an excuse from others and found time to come to court.
She spoke that though the prosecutor said that the complainant could not come to court because he was a member of a committee set up for #EndSARS protests, the counsel to the defendant debunked it.
She said the case was slated for hearing, and the complainant was absent “without a tenable excuse, which clearly shows an act of unseriousness, as regards this case.
“Hence, the charge against the defendant is hereby dismissed, and the defendant is accordingly discharged,” she said.
The defence counsel, Mr Jubril Mohammed, expressed satisfaction at the ruling of the court.
He, however, said that he and other human rights lawyers would not allow the case to end after the court’s ruling, as they were going to file a complaint before retired Justice Badejoko Adeniji’s panel that had just been inaugurated by the Oyo State governor, Mr Seyi Makinde.
“We will also pursue a legal action for malicious prosecution and damages in court against the DPO,” the Counsel said.
It will be recalled that DPO Gwazah allegedly assaulted the fashion designer by slapping him on October 31, after which he reportedly locked him in cell for two days before granting him bail on November 2.
The DPO had gone ahead to charge Adeniyi to court on November 3, accusing him of malicious damage of his clothes, which he said was worth N181,000.
He had yet to pay the N60,000 as charges for the job done, as agreed on by him and Adeniyi.
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