BY Sayo Akintola
The legal battle between Yewande Oyediran and the state over the death of her husband, Lowo continued on Monday at the Oyo State High Court, Ring road, Ibadan as the defence lawyer, Leye Adepoju opened her defence, promising to present no fewer than nine witnesses with a view to destroying what he described as ‘’castle of lies and innuendos that have been employed by the prosecution lawyers’’.
Adepoju stressed that Yewande was still presumed innocent and cannot be held culpable for the death of her husband, adding that at the end of the defence exercise, it was expected that the judgment of the court would dispense justice.
He explained that one witness was proving difficult. He however expressed optimism that the witness would not be compelled to appear in court. The defence witness, Kayode Oloyede, a farmer in Lalupo in Lagelu Local government Area of Oyo State, said he was having a meeting with Michael Folorunsho Lana in October 2016 when Chief Adelodun Akinpelu, who is the prime prosecution witness in the case, called Lana. He said Chief Akinpelu who is the landlord of Yewande invited Lana to his house at Olodo for the discussion. The defence witness said he and one Kanmbi accompanied Lana to Akinpelu’s house.
He said Kanmbi was not allowed to go into the meeting with them as he was not part of the family. According to the witness, Akinpelu told Lana that he had been invited as a witness in a murder case involving a female lawyer who allegedly killed her husband in his (Akinpelu’s) house. He said Akinpelu further disclosed that the late Lowo died at his door-step. Akinpelu, according to Oloyede, said he was not favourably disposed to going to court as a witness because Lowo’s death was the second murder committed in his house.
He said the landlord further told Lana that he kept the knife used in killing Lowo in his kitchen; but had to give the police a different knife when they visited his house for investigation.
Upon interrogation, Oloyede who spoke in Yoruba and translated by a court official, Olayinka, further explained that he grew up together with Lana, his immediate brother, Akinpelu and the independent prosecution lawyer, Akinyele, at Agugu area of Ibadan. All efforts by the Lowo’s family lawyer, Chief Yomi Alliyu to reject the witness’s narration as mere ear-say were rebuffed by the presiding judge, who doubles as the Chief Justice of Oyo State, Murkar Abimbola.
Adepoju noted that Lana had lied to the court he did not know Akinpelu whereas he actually told Akinpelu to request for transport fares from the court before he could appear as a witness with intent to dissuade the court in annoyance from asking him to appear. Upon cross-examination, independent prosecution lawyer, Akinyele asked the witness if Lana was told the identity of the accused, to which he said Akinpelu did not. To confirm the relationship between Lana and Akinpelu whom the later had earlier denied in court, Leye Adepoju invited the representative of MTN Nigeria, James Oluwatuyi to preset to the court call logs of Lana and Akinpelu detailing both Originating and Terminating calls on 08034107268 and 08033610516.
When asked if the call logs from MTN could be presented to the court, Adepoju said no. He said it would be presented to the court later as it was mere photocopies while the original copies were yet to be retrieved from the telecommunication giant. The presiding judge however adjourned the case till tomorrow, Wednesday, March 22, 2017 for further presentation of other witnesses by the defence team. He however, said he would not hesitate to hand off from the case the moment his integrity was called to question in his handling of the case by either party in the case.
Speaking with a couple of lawyers at the end of the proceedings, The Street Journal was told that if the principle of the ‘’last seen’’ was applied in the Lowo’s case, it would be difficult to convince the entire world that has shown keep interest in the case, that Lowo was killed by unknown person(s).
The accused, who is a Principal Counsel at the Oyo State Ministry of Justice, was alleged to have stabbed her 38-year-old husband, Oyelowo Oyediran, to death on February 2, 2016 over claims that he fathered a child out of wedlock. Yewande has since been remanded at the Agodi, Prison in Ibadan.
The owner of the house where she resided with her husband before the incident said the suspect stabbed her husband during an argument. He said he was at the apartment of the couple when the argument became ugly and that he made an attempt to calm them down. According to him, Yewande insisted that she would injure her husband, adding that the misunderstanding continued till around 3am and that at a point, Yewande became calm. He said he was, however, surprised to hear a noise around 6a.m same day.
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