An Abuja based lawyer, Dr. Kayode Ajulo, has confirmed that a Court of Appeal sitting in Ado Ekiti Judicial Division has discharged and acquitted a teenager Adeolu Bamiteko, who was sentenced to death by a High Court for stealing phone.
Bamiteko with one Ayobami Ojo were arraigned in Charge No. HAD/15C/2014 before the High Court presided over by Justice J.O Adeyeye on three counts of conspiracy, armed robbery and unlawful possession of firearm.
Consequently, on the 30th of June, 2017, Adeolu Bamiteko was sentenced to death by the trial court.
Speaking with Blueprint on phone when contacted Wednesday in Abuja, the human right activist, Dr. Olukayode Ajulo, who is also the Principal Partner of Kayode Ajulo & Co. Castle of Law, said he had to take up the case on compassionate grounds when his attention was drawn to it through a Facebook post by a friend of his.
Ajulo said he filed a Notice of Appeal No. CA/EK/41C/2020 at the Court of Appeal sitting in Ado Ekiti on the grounds that the prosecution failed to prove its case against Adeolu beyond reasonable doubt.
While arguing the Appeal, Ajulo contended among others that the prosecution failed to call the alleged victim as a witness in the case and the purported confessional statements of the accused persons which were admitted in evidence were recorded in Yoruba Language and translated into English Language, however, the Yoruba version of the statements were not tendered before the court.
He further argued that there was no admissible or reliable evidence as to where, when and how Exhibit C (the bag allegedly belonging to the accused which contained locally made pistol, a knife, four mobile phones, a wrist-watch, a necklace and fifty naira note) was allegedly recovered from the accused.
In a unanimous judgment, the panel of Justices Coram, Hon. Justice Ibrahim Ali Andenyangtso; Hon. Justice Bilikisu Bello Aliyu and led by Hon. Justice Theresa Ngolika Oriji Abadua agreed with the position of the appellant’s counsel and set aside the judgment of the trial court in its entirety and thereafter discharged and acquitted Adeolu of the offences for which he was charged.
When asked how he felt about the case, the human rights activist said: “This is the first time in my professional life that a minor will be let off the hook just by the grace of God through legal intervention. It is quite very rare.
“I remember one day I was talking to him and you know what this boy told me, he said anytime your name is called it is either for food or you will not come back, because nobody calls condemned criminals. And when you call condemned criminals two things happens. The possibility of returning back after answering that call is 50-50.
“I see it as civic duty to humanity. It is a huge victory to us. It is a good victory to humanity. Today you see Boko Haram killing people. But here is an opportunity to save a soul. This is huge,” Ajulo said.
When asked about what it cost him to resue the condemned teenager, Dr. Ajulo declined to reveal what it cost his chamber to prosecute the matter.
He likened the pain he went through to that of a pregnant woman who went to the labour room with severe pain but forgot her pains after she was delivered of her child.
“Whatsoever might have been the cost does not matter. Flying to Akure, from Akure to Ado-Ekiti cost us a lot of money. I think it cost alot. But it is my joy today the boy is saved.”