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Bus Driver Sentenced To 12-Year Jail Term For Killing LASTMA Officer

The Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja on Thursday, July 4, convicted and sentenced a commercial bus driver, Elijah Shokoya, to 12 years imprisonment for killing an officer of the Lagos State Traffic Management Agency (LASTMA).

Justice Oyindamola Ogala jailed Shokoya after holding that the prosecution, the Lagos State Government, had proven beyond reasonable doubt the one-count charge of manslaughter of the LASTMA officer, Olawale Akinmade, who died on Wednesday, January 27, 2012.

The judge held, “The prosecution has established beyond reasonable doubt that the deceased died, that the unlawful acts of the defendant caused the death of the deceased and that the acts of the defendant which eventually caused the death of the deceased were with the knowledge that injury or grievous bodily harm was the probable consequence.”

The Lagos State government accused the convict of knocking down Akinmade with a blue and black Opel space bus with number plate AAA 74 while controlling traffic after which the LASTMA official was said to have suffered injuries to his head and body.

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The prosecution claimed that the tragic incident occurred at Demurin Street junction inwards Mile 12 area of Lagos contrary to Section 224 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015, and was punishable under Section 229.

The convict was arraigned on June 23, 2021, and pleaded not guilty to the one-count charge.

In her judgement, Justice Ogala held that the sole issue for determination is whether the totality of the evidence before the court, showed that the prosecution, has successfully proved the charge of involuntary manslaughter proffered against the defendant to secure the conviction of the defendant.

The judge pointed out that the position of the law is indeed well settled that the burden of proof in criminal cases rests on the prosecution, and the standard of proof is proof beyond reasonable doubt.

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She held, “As regards the death of Akinmade Samson Olawale, there seems to be no dispute as to the death of the deceased.”

The testimony of a first prosecution witness, Aderonke Malik, is that she saw the defendant pushing the deceased into the front of his vehicle.

Her testimony is also that she ran to the scene asking the defendant to stop the car, but he did not, and that the deceased kept on banging the bonnet of the vehicle to stop. She further testified that the defendant did not stop until he knocked down the deceased.

“Also, in this instant case, it is instructive that the Investigating Police Officer also gave direct evidence of what she saw, heard, and investigated. The Court, therefore, finds that the evidence cannot be faulted as suggested by the defence in this instance.

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“It must be pointed out that proof beyond reasonable doubt is not proof beyond every shadow of doubt. The degree of proof amounting to reasonable doubt need not reach certainty, but it will carry a high degree of probability.

“Once the ingredients of the offence the accused is charged with are proved, that constitutes proof beyond a reasonable doubt, and for him to be entitled to the benefit of the doubt, the doubt must be a genuine and reasonable one arising from some evidence before the Court.

“The Honourable Court, therefore, finds the Defendant Guilty of the One Count charge of Involuntary Manslaughter he stands faced with and is accordingly convicted.

“I hereby sentenced the defendant to 12 years imprisonment from the day of judgment,” Justice Ogala held.

Bus Driver Sentenced To 12-Year Jail Term For Killing LASTMA Officer