Court Admits Video Evidence Of Islamic Cleric Who Beheaded Worshipper

A Lagos State High Court in Igbosere on Tuesday admitted a compact disc (CD) in evidence in the ongoing trial of an Islamic cleric, Taofeek Adamu, who was accused of killing a worshipper seeking spiritual help.

Adamu was arraigned on two counts of conspiracy and murder and pleaded not guilty to the charges.

It was learnt that 63-year-old Adamu had on March 19, 2017, around 4pm at Waterside, Ikoga-Zebbe, in the Badagry area of Lagos, allegedly severed the head of the victim, Oluwakemi Afolabi, who worshipped in a mosque he presided over.

It was gathered that the deceased had gone to seek spiritual help from the cleric when he allegedly beheaded her and cut off other parts of her body for ritual purposes.

Adamu was reportedly apprehended when members of his community saw him carrying a sack soaked with blood.

According to the prosecuting counsel, O. F Fagbai, the offences committed is punishable under sections 222 and 233 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.

At the last adjourned date on April 9, the prosecution had sought to tender the disc through its witness, but was objected by the defence counsel, A. O. Ajayi.

The witness had told the court that he stumbled on the video link of the confessional statement made by the defendant, adding that while he was going through the Internet, he saw a video clip where a former Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Fatai Owoseni, conducted a press interview, and Adamu confessed to the evidence he had earlier given before the court.

He added that he copied the video link and burned it on a compact disc on January 25, 2019, and signed the certificate.

However, the defence counsel held that the certificate did not identify the document sought to be tendered.

She said, “This certificate just says document, but does not identify what is in the certificate. In any proceeding where it is desired to give a statement in evidence by virtue of Section 84 (4), a certificate must identify the document containing the statement and describe the manner in which it was produced.

“The compact disc itself says interview conducted by the press. When it comes to computer generated documents, it tells you how it was produced. But in this case, the document was not produced by the witness and this is an offence of right. It also does not state the name of the officer; this is not permissible not on the face of the document, but on the content.”

Responding, Fagbai argued that the paramount thing to consider was whether the actual document was relevant to the case.

Delivering her ruling on Tuesday, Justice I. O. Akinkugube, held that the electronic evidence tendered in court was relevant to the case before it and admitted it in evidence.

She adjourned the case till May 21 for continuation of trial.

PMetros

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