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Police Fabrication: 2 Men Acquitted of Robbery after 5 years in Jail


Ruth Bamidele, Lagos

Two men, Femi Biala 25 and Fatai Babatunde, who have been in prison for the past five years, over alleged conspiracy and armed robbery were on Monday discharged and acquitted by Justice Lateefa Okunnu of a Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja.

The duo were arrested on July 26, 2008 and charged to court after being forced to confess that they were armed robbers, who robbed one Dada Kareem the sum of N4,500 while armed with broken bottles and charms  at Ikorodu area of Lagos.

Justice Okunnu noted that the first defendant who is a bus conductor, had told the court that on the morning he was arrested, he was waiting for the bus driver that he will work with for the day.

Speaking further, the first defendant said that when he got to the police station at Ikorodu, a statement was written and he was asked to sign it and was also taken to the back of the building of the station to confess to stealing the money while armed with a broken bottle.

Justice Okunnu, said that in his evidence in chief, Baila, continued that the charms and broken bottles were not recovered from him but from other people in the area, he denied picking any money from the area.

Baila was said to have confessed to the crime when the torture was too much for him to bear and when he also felt that he was going to die.

The second defendant, who is a Vulcanizer said he was arrested around 7am on July 26,2008 and was taken to the torture room and while he was being tortured, he had no option but to confess to the crime.

He said he was forced to admit that he was a thief so that the police can stop the torture.

Okunnu, faulted the prosecution counsel for not being able to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the accused actually committed the alleged offence.

She said that the prosecution only brought one witness before the court, one Sergeant Patrick Patinvo, who alleged that the accused conspired together to commit armed robbery  and were found with broken bottles.

Okunnu said” the broken bottles were not brought before the court as evidence and the victim never came to testify before the court and since then no other witness was brought before the court”.

“Conspiracy to commit armed robbery has not been proven, both defendants have come to say that those statements where not from them but that they were made to sign under duress”.

“The first defendant said that the N4,500, that was found on him was the fare from the commuters that boarded the bus”.

Okunnu, after going through all the evidence before her, discharged and acquitted the accused.

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