A lawyer, Udeme Otike-Odibi, who was accused of killing her husband, Symphorosa Otike-Odibi, on May 3, 2018, has urged the Lagos State High Court in Igbosere to reject her confessional statements made to the police.
Forty-eight-year-old Udeme is standing trial for allegedly stabbing her husband to death at their residence on the Diamond Estate, Sangotedo, Lagos State.
TheNigerialawyer had reported that Udeme was also alleged to have mutilated Symphorosa’s corpse after killing him.
The offences were said to contravene sections 165 (b) and 223 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.
At the last adjourned date on January 23, 2019, the police witness, Olusegun Bamidele, had told the court that Udeme confessed to killing her husband.
The witness, who is an Assistant Superintendent of Police, had told the court that he was the head of the team that investigated the killing and that he personally recorded the defendant’s initial statement.
He added that the second time he met Udeme, she was in protective custody at a police hospital in Ikeja after she had been moved from the Safeway Hospital in Lekki, noting that it was during an interactive session at the hospital that the suspect wrote a detailed confessional statement.
However, when the Lagos State Director of Public Prosecutions, Titilayo Shitta-Bey, wanted to tender the statements, Udeme’s counsel, Oluseye Banjoko, objected and the presiding judge, Justice Adedayo Akintoye, adjourned for trial within trial to consider the admissibility of the statements.
At Monday’s proceedings, Udeme, through her lawyer, Banjoko, made an application that the court should stop the conduct of the trial within trial to determine the admissibility of the two statements made by the defendant during police investigation.
Banjoko noted that the constitution made provisions that the statement of any person arrested must be made in the presence of a legal practitioner or must be videoed.
He added that Section 93 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law of Lagos State, 2015, also made it mandatory that to achieve transparency in statements taken, the above law must be complied with.
He said, “Why the law was made was so that we do not waste the time of the court in going into trial within trial to determine the admissibility of the said statement.
“Our application is for an order rejecting the alleged confessional statements since the provisions of the law were not followed.”
Responding, the prosecutor, Shitta-Bey, said the provision of the constitution stated that the substantive law to be adhered to in determining the admissibility of any piece of evidence was the Evidence Act, 2011.
Shitta-Bey stated that the ACJL, which was referred to by the defence counsel, was a “procedural law, which cannot supersede the Evidence Act.”
She further urged the court to proceed with the trial within trial to determine the admissibility of the defendant’s statements.
Justice Akintoye adjourned the case till April 21 for further hearing.