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Court grants two men freedom after 11 years in remand

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Two persons, who have been on trial for 11 years, have been discharged by an Oyo State High Court sitting in Ibadan.

Justice Adegbola Gbolagunte on Monday discharged Abideen Alasela and Tope Mustapha due to the failure of the prosecution to present witnesses against them.

The defendants had been in prison custody since 2006 on a four-count of conspiracy and armed robbery, with others still at large.

The judge noted that the liberty of a citizen is a fundamental human right guaranteed by the Constitution.

He noted that for the 11 years the case had lasted, the prosecution had continued to stall the case due to their inability to get or call any witness to give evidence against the accused persons.

“I hereby discharged the accused persons but not on merit,’’ the judge said.

Mrs R. Yusuf, Principal State Counsel, had earlier told the court that efforts to get witnesses to testify on the matter had proved abortive, and urged the court to use its discretion to decide on the case.

Counsel to the defendants, Mr B. Falola, told the court that since the defendants were confined to prison custody in July 2006, the prosecution was only able to present one witness.

Falola therefore urged the court to strike out the case for want of diligent prosecution.

The defendants was alleged to have committed the offences of conspiracy and armed robbery on July 12, 2006 at 1am in Oke-Apa, Yemetu area of Ibadan.

The prosecutor had alleged that the defendants conspired and robbed three persons, Ayorinde Samsudeen, Kazeem Fakorede and Adebiyi Omobolanle of their properties and N72,000 cash while armed with cutlasses and big stick.

The defendants had pleaded not guilty to the charges and were remanded in prison custody since July 2006 without bail.

(NAN)

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