A Magistrates’ Court sitting in the Yaba area of Lagos has acquitted and discharged a 15-year-old girl accused of murdering her father’s 51-year-old friend who tried to rape her.
Magistrate Philip Ojo struck out the murder charge filed by the police against the Senior Secondary School (SSS) 3 student, following an advice from the office of the Lagos State Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP).
On March 24, the State Criminal Intelligence and Investigation Department (SCIID) had alleged that the teenager stabbed Mr Babatunde Ishola to death on March 7, 2020.
The incident occurred in his home located at Nwadolu Street, Aboru, Lagos.
Ishola was said to be employed as a guard at a school in the community and lived alone.
The police said the girl’s act contravened Section 225 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, Nigeria, 2015.
It obtained an order for the student to be remanded at the Lagos State Correctional Home for Girls, Idi Araba while the case was adjourned for the legal advice from the DPP.
The teenager was represented pro bono by the Lagos State Office of the Public Defender (OPD).
At the proceedings yesterday, Magistrate Ojo said the court had received the DPP’s report. He said the report corroborated the facts of the matter as set out in the case file, that that there were “insufficient facts to establish a prima facie case of murder against the suspect.”
The magistrate then acquitted and discharged the minor.
The Director of the OPD, Dr. Jide Martins expressed satisfaction with the verdict. He said that “the professionalism, diligence and timely advice of the DPP on the matter made it possible for the girl to be released, because no prima facie case was established against her.”
“I appeal to anyone that has suffered any form of rights denial, abuse and violence to visit any of the OPD office nearest to him or her for free legal service,” Martins added.
The teenager’s parents who also spoke after the judgment, thanked the Lagos state government and OPD for coming to their rescue with free legal services.