Justice Kazeem Alogba, Chief Judge of Lagos State
A scandalous twist was on Wednesday added to a case before an Ikeja Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Court as the presiding judge, and prosecutors from the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Lagos State Ministry of Justice shockingly discovered that the son of a prominent politician in Lagos who is currently on trial for rape has been granted bail through the back door.
Olusegun Razaq (28), son of the Epe- born All Progessives Congress (APC) politician, Alhaji Lanre Razaq has been on trial and remanded in prison custody alongside his friend and co-accused person, Don Chima George (25) for drugging and raping a 24 year old woman (name withheld) at Delankaster Hotel Lekki, Lagos on February 3, 2019.
The trial judge, Justice Justice Abiola Soladoye had on April 29 refused the bail application of the accused persons and remanded them in prison custody. The trial judge was only following precedence and practice direction in that those who face trial for rape and domestic violence are usually not granted bail, rather, the court usually grant accelerated hearing for speedy trial.
Justice Cybil Nwaka of a Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Court sitting in Ikeja had revoked bail earlier granted Adeboyega Adenekan of Chrisland School in the alleged rape of two year old girl and remanded him in prison custody based on thesame norm.
Similarly, Justice Abiola Soladoye also remanded five students of the University of Lagos (UNILAG) Moboluwaji Omowole, 19, Chuka Chukwu, 19, Peace Nwankama, 19, James Aguedu, 20 and Osemeka Josephine, 20 for allegedly defiling and gang raping a fellow student contrary to Sections 137, 138 and 140(1)(a) of the Criminal Law of Lagos 2015.
Besides, chapter 25 of the Lagos State Judiciary (Sentencing Guidelines) Practice Directions, 2018 categorized rape as a very serious offence that carries a life imprisonment.
The complainant, the rape victim had given her evidence in the case on May 15, and June 13 respectively before the courts went on the annual vacation.
However, while vacation was on, lawyer to the accused persons, Chief Tunji Ayanlaja SAN Chambers through an in house counsel, Ms Funmi Adeogun approached a vacation judge, Justice Ganiyu Safari with a bail application claiming ‘new grounds’ as basis for the bail application.
During the hearing, Justice Safari barred journalists from covering the case. The bail was subsequently granted on July 31, 2019.
Further investigations however revealed that while on bail, Olusegun Razaq was recorded enjoying his life at a birthday party. This was brought to the attention of the prosecutors by the family of the victim but the claims was dismissed as they were not even aware that the accused persons had been granted bail by Justice Safari.
It was therefore a shock when the defence lawyer, Ms Adeogun came before the court on Wednesday to apply for the transfer of the casefile from the court and sought reassignment to another court.
The request was made at the resumed hearing of the case. Adeogun via a letter dated Aug. 26 applied for a transfer of the case file from Justice Soladoye’s court.
The defence had applied for the transfer “in order to save the good trust of the courts and maintain high order of fair hearing between parties”.
Reacting, Justice Soladoye said “in view of the letter, we will order the transfer of the case file to the registry for further directive from the Chief Judge.”
The case was adjourned till Nov. 26 to await the Chief Judge’s directives.
The prosecution led by Mr Akin George, alleged that the defendants committed the offence on Feb. 3, from 5.00a.m. to 7.00a.m. at Delankaster Hotels, Lekki Phase 1, Lagos.
The complainant who is friends with George, one of the defendants went to a nightclub with the duo and a group of friends to celebrate George’s birthday.
While at the nightclub, the defendants, who are both dropouts from Babcock University, Ilisan Remo, Ogun State, allegedly mixed the complainant’s drink with a substance that allegedly rendered her unconscious moments later.
The prosecution alleges that they took the complainant to Delankaster hotel owned by George’s father, where they allegedly took turns to rape her while videotaping the sexual offence.
According to the prosecution, the offences contravene Sections 258 and 409 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State.