Justice Oyindamola Ogala of an Ikeja High Court has ordered a trial-within-trial for Elijah Shokoya, a driver accused of causing the death of Olawale Akinmade, an officer of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA).
Ogala in a brief ruling on Monday ordered the trial-within-trial to determine whether Shokoya’s statement to the police was obtained under duress.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that following the ruling, the case was adjourned until Nov.1 for the commencement of the trial-within-trial.
During the previous court proceedings held on Aug. 2, Shokoya had through his counsel, Ebunola Ewonowo objected to the tendering of Shokoya’s statement as evidence by the prosecution.
The defence counsel had objected on the grounds that it was obtained under duress. He also noted that though the statement was written in English Language, the defendant does not understand or write the language.
Following Ewonowo’s submission, Ogala had adjourned proceedings for ruling.
Shokoya who faces a charge of involuntary manslaughter, is accused by the prosecution led by Olayinka Adeyemi the Lagos State Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) of causing the Jan. 26 death of Akinmade.
He allegedly mowed down the LASTMA officer with his Opel Car with registration number AAA74GG.
“Akinmade was directing heavy traffic on the Ikorodu Expressway by Demurin Junction, Ketu, Lagos when the incident occurred,” the DPP said.
The state has opened its case against the driver during the last court proceedings by presenting two witnesses on Aug. 2.
The two witnesses are – Aderonke Malik, a LASTMA Traffic Superintendent and a policewoman, ASP Mercy Ibok. They were present at the scene when the alleged crime occured.
Malik in her testimony said the late Akinmade was instructing the defendant who was driving a commercial vehicle had stopped at an illegal bus stop.
The deceased had ordered him to move to enable free flow of traffic but Shokoya became rude and unruly to him.
“At that time I was controlling traffic and I suddenly saw the defendant pushing my colleague with his vehicle.
“I ran towards him shouting ‘stop, stop!’ and my colleague was hanging on to his car bonnet.
“The defendant did not stop until he knocked him over on the highway and he drove off,” she said.
Ibok in her testimony revealed that after Shokoya was apprehended, investigations revealed that he was an unregistered and unlicensed driver.