BRT Murder: Court Adjourns Case Over Defendant Lawyer’s Absence
The trial of Andrew Nice Ominnikoron
the driver of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) bus who allegedly raped and murdered a 22-year-old fashion designer, Oluwabamise Ayanwole, was yesterday stalled in court due to the absence of his lawyer.
When the matter came up yesterday before Justice Sherifat Sonaike of the Lagos State High Court, the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Dr. Babajide Martins, informed the court that the defendant’s counsel, Abayomi Omotubora, was not in court.
Justice Sonaike had on July 7, 2022, directed the defendant to get himself another lawyer to represent him.
The Judge suggested that the defendant should avail himself of a lawyer on the next adjourned date, and adjourned the case to September 28, for continuation of trial.
The Judge in her ruling, held that: “I have listened to the state Attorney General, and considering the face of the charge, I shall be directing at this stage that the defendant should avail himself a counsel to continue to conduct his trial on the next adjourned date.
“If he is unable to avail himself a lawyer on the next adjourned date, I will direct that the Legal Aid Council take up his case.
“The defendant’s counsel, Omotubora, has been absent from court on several occasions. This is unbecoming of a lawyer of this noble profession, this particular counsel has failed to come to court to conduct his trial, and this court strongly condemns it.”
Omotubora has been absent from court for six consecutive times, but on June 30, the court ordered that the junior counsel from his chamber should conduct his defence.
Ominnikoron is facing a five-count charge bordering on rape, conspiracy, felony, sexual assault, and murder preferred against him by the Lagos State government.
The incident took place on February 26, 2022, at about 7 p.m. at Lekki-Ajah Conservation Centre on Lekki-Ajah expressway in Lagos and on Carter Bridge.
The prosecution said the defendant had sexual intercourse with Oluwabamise Ayanwole, without her consent and murdered her.
According to the prosecution, the offences committed are contrary to and punishable under Sections 411,223,260 and 165 of the criminal law of Lagos State 2015.
However, the 47-year-old defendant pleaded not guilty to the charge preferred against him.
Consequently Justice Sonaike further adjourned the case till September 29 for continuation of trial.