Justice may have finally come the way of a 76-year old woman, Mrs. Jolasun Okesanya, who was allegedly strangled by her son’s driver, Olalekan Hammed, in cold blood in Surulere area of Lagos.
P.M.EXPRESS reports that an Ikeja High Court, Lagos, sentenced the driver, Hameed, to death by hanging for the December 1, 2018, murder of Mrs. Okunsanya, the mother of his employer, Adetayo.
Justice Mojisola Dada, who presided over the case in Court, delivered the judgment in Lagos State during Judiciary’s maiden virtual Court session.
The virtual Court sessions were approved by Chief Judge, Justice Kazeem Alogba, in line with the Lagos State Judiciary Remote Hearing of Cases COVID-19 Pandemic Period Practice Direction.
The Court session for the charge marked ID/9006C/2019 was held online via a video app Zoom. It began at 11am and ended before 2pm.
The judge, defendant, his team of counsel, the prosecution team led by Lagos State Solicitor-General, Ms Titilayo Shitta-Bey, and all witnesses participated in the session remotely from different locations via the Zoom app.
The principal suspect, Hameed, was arraigned on March 6, 2019, on a two-count charge of murder and stealing. He allegedly committed the offences at about 12:30pm at plot 83, Owukori Crescent, Estate, Surulere, Lagos.
He had pleaded not guilty, hence the trial commenced.
The prosecution called several witnesses and tendered exhibits including the Coroner’s report, stolen N97,500 and $117 recovered from the convict, his confessional statement, among others.
“The only money I took was N1,000, any other money I don’t know about it. I did not kill Mrs. Jolaso Ogunsanya” the convict had told the judge during the trial.
In her judgment, Justice Dada noted that prosecution witnesses testimonies that Hakeem was the only one with the deceased at the time of her death and he was also seen scaling the fence of the deceased’s building afterwards, among others, were not disproved.
She said: “It is also an established fact that although the defendant went to the house to steal, the surprise of the deceased stumbling upon him led him to not just pushing the deceased but actually strangulating her in a bid to keep her from crying out”.
“The case is clear… I have not found any contradiction with the evidence of the prosecution witness that can be deemed material or weighty enough to cast any doubt on the prosecution against the defendant. The facts of the case are incompatible with the innocence of the defendant but rather his guilt on the two counts.”
“The defendant is hereby found guilty of this count two of murder and is hereby convicted as charged and accordingly sentenced to death.
“The sentence of this Court upon you, Olalekan Hameed, is that you be hanged by the neck until you be pronounced dead and may the Lord have mercy upon your soul. This is the virtual judgment of the Court.”
Top members of the Judiciary and Ministry of Justice also participated in the proceedings virtually.
Justice Dada conducted proceedings from High Court 10, Ikeja, the defendant Hameed was at Kirikiri Maximum Correctional Centre, Apapa while the counsels were at different locations.
Judicial Officers including Justice Alogba, Justice Oluwatoyin Ipaye, Justice Josephine Oyefeso, Justice Sherifat Solebo, Justice Afeez Dabiri, Justice Roli Harriman, amongst others, also participated.
Participants from the bar included the State’s Attorney-General & Minister of Justice, Moyosore Onigbanjo (SAN), the prosecutor, Ms Titilayo Shitta-Bey, and some senior lawyers like Funke Adekoya, SAN, Tayo Oyetibo, SAN, Olukayode Enitan, SAN, amongst others.