Judiciary

Cleric accused of severing head of worshiper: Court admits electronic evidence

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Lagos, April 16, 2019 An Igbosere High Court in Lagos on Tuesday admitted in evidence a video recording of a confessional statement of an Islamic cleric, Taofeek Adamu, charged with beheading a 38-year-old congregant.

Adamu, 61, a resident of Masinowe Compound, Ikoga near Badagry, is standing trial on a two-count charge of conspiracy and murder of one Oluwakemi Afolabi.

According to Justice I. O. Akinkugbe, the electronically generated document tendered by the prosecution complied with the Section 84 of the Evidence Act.

“It is very relevant to the case and is hereby admitted as evidence,” Akinkugbe ruled.

Section 84 of the Evidence Act provides that a computer generated document shall be admissible as evidence of any fact stated in it of which direct oral evidence would be admissible and the period in which the document was generated, the computer was operating properly.

The judge said that the prosecution was able to show that the computer from which the document was generated was working properly at the time the evidence was generated.

Akinkugbe said: “On whether the evidence admitted would tamper the constitutional rights of the defendant, as to the right to be considered innocent until proven otherwise, that will be considered in my judgment”.

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

At the last adjourned date on April 9, the Lagos State Prosecution Counsel, Mrs O. F. Fagbai, had sought to tender an electronically generated evidence through its witness, an investigating police officer.

However, the defence counsel, Mrs A. O Ajayi, objected to the admissibility of such evidence.

The witness, who had earlier given evidence, had told the court that he stumbled on the video link of the confessional statement made by the defendant.

The police witness said that while he was going through the internet, he saw a video clip, where the former Commissioner of Police Lagos State, Fatai Owoseni, conducted a press interview.

The police officer said in that video, Adamu, confessed exactly to the evidence he had earlier given before the court.

He said that after copying the video link, he recorded it on a Compact Disc (CD) with his HP laptop, which was in good condition at the time of recording.

The defence counsel, Ajayi, in her objection, said that the certificate which was presented to the court to authenticate the document did not identify the document.

“It just said document. This certificate just says document, but did not identify what is in the document.

“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, therefore should not be admitted,” the defence counsel submitted.

In her response, the prosecutor, Fagbai argued that the paramount thing to consider was whether the actual document was relevant.

“I urge your lordship to discountenance the objection the defence raised, as this document we sought to tender is very important and the original is before the court”.

Earlier, the prosecutor had told the court that the defendant severed the head of one Oluwakemi Afolabi, 38, a worshiper in a mosque he presided over.

She said that Adamu a resident of Masinowe Compound, Ikoga in Badagry, who is also known as (Kiekie), committed the offence on March 19, 2017, at 4.00p.m. at Waterside, Ikoga-Zebbe in Badagry.

She said that the deceased had come to seek spiritual help from the cleric but the defendant beheaded the deceased and chopped off other parts for ritual purposes.

According to the prosecutor, the offences contravened Sections 222 and 233 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.

https://nnn.ng/cleric-accused-of-severing-head-of-worshiper-court-admits-electronic-evidence/

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