Lukman Ifayinka, 31, whon is standing trial for alleged involvement in an armed robbery incident was on Thursday discharged by an Ikeja Magistrate’s court sequel to the advice of the Lagos State Director of Public Prosecution.
Mrs Oshodi-Makanju, the presiding Magistrate discharged the suspect and ordered his release from prison custody, saying he has no case to answer. “The accused person is hereby discharged. I order his release forthwith from prison custody”.
The Magistrate’s ruling was based on an advice from the DPP, dated May 31, 2013. In the DPP’s advice, it was stated that after careful consideration of the facts, no prima facie case of conspiracy to commit robbery and robbery was established against Ifayinka.
It was further stated in the DPP’s advice that the allegation to commit robbery and robbery which run contrary to Section 295 and 297 (3) of the Criminal Code, Laws of Lagos State, 2011 was not disclosed against the accused person.
The DPP went further to state that “”to establish a prima facie case of armed robbery, prosecution must prove that there was robbery or series of robbery, in which the robbers were armed and the accused person took part in the armed robbery
The DPP also made it known that the complainant identified two men on a bike as the suspects in the robbery, which the accused denied involvement in.
As stated in the advice, the DPP noted that “identification of the suspect is an issue in this case and where the punishment relates to a capital offence, the Court has held that poor identification be treated with caution”.
In the DPP’s opinion, “the case against the suspect is based on suspicion and suspicion, no matter how strong, can not be basis for criminal responsibility”.
The DPP’s advice left the magistrate with no choice but to discharge the accused and order his release from prison custody since `’ the ingredient of armed robbery were not presented in the case against him.’’
Ifayinka was arraigned on Jan. 23, 2012 on a two-count charge of conspiracy and armed robbery and has been in prison awaiting the DPP’s legal advice since then.
The Police prosecutor, Inspector Samson Ekikere had earlier told the court that the accused conspired with others at large, to rob one Mrs Amuafu Afonji.
According to Ekikere, the accused and the others, armed with a locally made pistol and other dangerous weapons, robbed the complainant of her handbag containing N35, 000 and a chain valued N15,000 on January 6 at Obanikoro in Lagos. .
The prosecutor said that the offence was committed on Jan. 6, 2012 at Obanikoro, The offence according to the police officer ran foul of Sections 1(2) (a), and 5, of the Robbery and Firearms (Special Provision) Act, Cap 398, Vol. XXII, Laws of Federation of Nigeria, 1990 (Amended).
The Street Journal had reported a similar occurrence in Oyo State some years ago, where a student of the Olabisi Onabanjo University confessed that he robbed a couple of their vehicle while armed with a pistol only to be freed by the court with the judge saying the suspect had no case to answer.
When the DPP was asked by Street Journal reporters, he said his advice was given based on what was in the file given to him by the police. The police however denied mutilating the evidence as alleged by the then Oyo State DPP.