One Jelili Dimeji has been discharged and acquitted by an Igbosere high court in Lagos after spending five years behind the bars over an armed robbery charge brought against him.
He was prosecuted by the Lagos state government for allegedly robbing some valuables from an apartment in Ikotun in 2015.
Dimeji while testifying on February 26, 2019, said he was on his way to a bus to Ifo, Ogun State to see his wife, who had just been delivered of a baby, when he was accosted by a vigilance group who claimed he was a member of a gang of robbers which robbed a nearby residential premise.
According to him, he did not partake in the robbery attack but was arrested, taken into custody, and remanded at the Kirikiri Maximum Correctional Centre.
The presiding judge, Justice Oluwatoyin Ipaye in her judgment during virtual proceedings, held that the prosecution did not prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt.
“The alleged confessional statement was never placed before the court as an exhibit. I must hold that the prosecution’s failure to place the confessional statement before the court is fatal to its case.
“The mere fact that the Investigating Police Officer testified that the defendant confessed cannot be taken as the gospel truth without some other hard evidence before the court,” Ipaye said.
“As an 18th Century English jurist stated, it is better that 10 guilty persons escape than one innocent suffers.
“Accordingly, I find and hold that the prosecution has failed to establish beyond a reasonable doubt, that the defendant, Dimeji, was one of those who carried out the robbery which took place about 3 a.m. on October 7, 2015, at Dele Ara Sreet, Ikotun, Lagos. I so hold.
“Having failed to establish the substantive charge of armed robbery against the defendant beyond a reasonable doubt, I find and hold that the prosecution has also not sustained the ancillary charge of conspiracy.
“I, therefore, find you Jelili Dimeji not guilty of the charges as contained in counts one to four of the information dated March 3, 2017. You are hereby discharged and acquitted,” Ipaye held.