The Lagos Magistrates’ Court, sitting in Yaba on Wednesday freed a 15-year-old teenager (name withheld) accused of killing her father’s friend, Babatunde Ishola, 51, while attempting to rape her.
She was released based on the legal advice of the Lagos State Director of Public Prosecution that the “case lacked ingredients of murder”.
Delivering judgment in the case, the presiding magistrate, Mr Philip Ojo, said there were “insufficient facts to establish a prima facie case of murder against the suspect contrary to Section 222 of the Criminal Law, Cap. C17, Vol.3 Laws of Lagos State”.
The teenager was represented by the Lagos State Office of the Public Defender since the inception of the matter.
She was arraigned on a count of killing Babatunde Ishola on March 7, 2020, at Nwadolu Street, Aboru in Alimosho Local Government Area of the state by allegedly stabbing him to death with a knife.
She was thereafter remanded at the Correctional Home for Girls, Idi-Araba and case adjourned for legal advice of the Lagos State Director of Public Prosecutions.
Commenting on the matter, the Director, Lagos Office of the Public Defender, Dr Babajide Martins, expressed satisfaction with the decision of the court to release the girl.
In a statement from the OPD, Martins commended “the professionalism, diligence, and timely advice of the Director of Public Prosecution on the matter, which made it possible for the girl to be released because no prima facie case was established against her”.
The parents of the girl appreciated the Lagos State Government and OPD for coming to their “rescue with free legal services”.
The statement quoted them as saying that they “would have lost hope of getting access to justice considering their low-income status in a case of this nature”.