Justice Hakeem Oshodi of an Ikeja High Court on Tuesday discharged and acquitted a commercial motorcyclist, Tashiru Ibrahim of a lone charge of murder.
Ibrahim, who has been in custody for over six-years, was acquitted of the charge of alleged murder due to insufficient evidence by the prosecution.
Ibrahim was charged with a lone count charge of murder contrary to Section 221 of the Criminal Law of Lagos 2011.
The trial commenced in the matter before the Court on March 14, 2018.
According to the prosecution led by Mr. M. A Adewoye, the defendant allegedly committed the offence at 8.30 pm on July 12, 2014, in Ikeja, Lagos.
ReadAlso: COVID-19: Lagos receives vaccines
The prosecution had alleged that the defendant killed one Sodiq Olayiwola by stabbing him on the leg with a knife during an argument over money.
Delivering the judgment in the matter Tuesday, Justice Oshodi held that the prosecution failed to prove the offence of murder against the defendant beyond a reasonable doubt.
Justice Oshodi noted that the prosecution did not provide sufficient evidence before the court and as a result, failed to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt.
The judge noted that the prosecution had provided two witnesses, Saheed Olayiwola and Bello Ismaila, who were the siblings of the deceased.
He said: “Upon the evaluation of the evidence of the prosecution’s witnesses, it was clear that they were not present at the venue of the alleged stabbing on the day of the incident.
“None of these witnesses gave evidence as to the particulars of the offence, which is the stabbing of the deceased on the leg.
“The evidence they gave were just a narration of what they were told by other people namely the deceased’s father, the doctor and some people at the hospital.
“The deceased’s father, the doctor and the people at the hospital did not give evidence in this case. The police who should have investigated the case did not give evidence during the trial,” he noted.
Justice Oshodi, in the judgment further noted that none of the prosecution witnesses know the date of the incident or the name of the hospital their late brother was taken to.
“The evidence available was that of prosecution witnesses who are not eyewitnesses to the alleged stabbing carried out by the defendant.
“They only became aware of the incident on the second day. Their evidence is hearsay,” the trial judge held.
The judge said the prosecution can prove a charge of murder through the evidence of eyewitnesses, the confessional statement of the defendant and circumstantial evidence.
He also noted that the prosecution did not prove to the court that the death of the deceased was caused by the defendant.
He said: “a judge is not entitled to embark on any type of speculation in continuing a case of murder; the findings must rest on the evidence in the matter.
“Where no material exists, it is not the business of the judge or court to separate the ear from the silk.
“Having evaluated the evidence before it, the court holds and finds that the prosecution has been unable to prove a case of murder against the defendant.
“As a consequence, the court finds the defendant Tashiru Ibrahim not guilty of the sole count charge.
“He is hereby discharged and acquitted.
“He is to be released from the correctional facility immediately,” the judge ordered.
Following the judgment, the defence counsel Mr A.E. Hassan expressed gratitude for the verdict.