An Ondo State High Court sitting in Akure, the state capital, has dismissed the murder charge against Mallam Gani Asiru, the Obaja of Ijaja, Arigidi Akoko in Akoko Northwest local government area of the state.
Mallam Asiru, a legal practitioner and the Principal Partner of Mallam Gani Asiru Chambers, Ikare Akoko was charged to the court on a two counts of conspiracy to murder and murder along with one Gambo Alli as the second and first defendants respectfully.
In the case number Ak/163/2022, The State VS Gambo Alli and Gani Asiru, the two were accused of conspiring and killing one Taye Simisola Owara at Arigidi Akoko on January 20, 2011.
At the hearing, prosecution called four witnesses who gave evidence in its case while the two defendants also give evidences in their won defence.
Prosecution Witness number one, PW1, Sunday Owara, who is also the husband of the deceased Taye Simisola Owara told the court that he was in his house at Arigidi on January 20, 2011, when he suddenly heard the noise of gunshots at night and woke up to know that some attackers have surrounded his house and hid himself and later found out that the attackers had forcefully broke in and entered his house.
PW1 said the men attacked his wife, Simisola Owara with marchets while she was crying for mercy from her attackers.
He told the court that he had the voice of first defendant giving orders that nobody should be spared of left to escape from the house.
He disclosed that it was some palace boys who came to his rescue and later rushed the dying woman to the State Specialist Hospital, Ikare Akoko from where she was referred to the Federal Medical Centre, Owo where she was also referred to the Obafemi Awolowo Teaching Hospital, Ile-Ife.
According to him, the woman was again referred back to FMC, Owo but died before getting there.
In his evidence, PW2, a DSS officer who investigated the case said he was the investigating officer and also admitted under cross examination that he investigated the first defendant to the best of his ability.
PW3, Oba Yisa Olanipekun, the Zaki of Arigidi, while giving evidence in the case said Gambo Alli was one of those who killed the deceased.
PW3 said the first defendant came to his palace at Arigidi to confess of the offence but later ran away when he asked that he should be taken to the court to swear to an affidavit of his confession
He disclosed that he later caught up with the first defendant and took him to his house at the Ministry Area of Arigidi where he also confessed to the crime.
According to him, he recorded the confessional statement with his phone but the phone later got damaged.
He told the court that the first defendant did mention the name of the second defendant who sent him to do the job.
PW4 also have evidence that he was there when the first defendant, Gambo Alli, confessed to the crime at the Zaki’s palace.
Giving evidence in his defence, the first defendant, Gambo Alli, who said he is a butcher said that he was where he used to sell his meat when one Alaba Rewire (Alaba Ogungbemi) came to him to tell him that the Zaki wanted to see him.
Gambo told the court that he thereafter sought the advice of people around him who adviced into go.
He disclosed that went he got to the palace, Oba Yisa Olanipekun told him that he wanted to send him on an errand and he was therefore happy st first thinking that it was on business purposes and was therefore expecting a return.
However, he said he was shocked to hear that the monarch told him to implicate the second defendant as the one who send him to kill the deceased promising him the sum of two million naira and N350,000.00 cash payment on the spot as part payment.
He said he later asked to make use of the restroom to ease himself from where he escaped because he cannot implicate and innocent man.
Gambo said he was later taken to the house of the Zaki at Ministry area of the town by the husband of one of his customers Alhaja Aliu) who simply asked to enter his car which he did thinking he was going to help him purchase a cow but surprised to have landed at PW3′ s house.
He said PW3 who was angry that he ran away ordered some people to give him the beaten of his life and agreed to confess but asked that policemen should be brought in.
According to him, two policemen later came and took him away to the police station where he made his statement saying that he was promised two million naira to implicate the second defendant with an on the spot cash advancement of N350,000.00.
In his own witness to defend himself, the second defendant, Mallam Gani Asiru, said he was never at the scene of the incidence and was never in Arigidi or Ikare Akoko on January 20, 2011.
He told the court that there has been a feuding crisis between him and PW3 who is the Zaki of Arigidi over the Obaja Chieftaincy tool.
Delivering judgement in the case, Honourable Justice (Dr) O. S. Kuteyi, said prosecution has failed to prove its case.
According to Justice kuteyi, it is the burden of the prosecution to prove its case in a criminal matter and it is not the duty of the defendant to do so as he he may chose not to utter a word during the trial.
On the evidences by the prosecuting witnesses, the judge said the evidence of PW1 is not reliable and rejected totally as the court cannot rely on it while PW2 failed to investigate the first defendant and the alibi he raised thY he was in Okene during the incident while he also failed to visit the scene of the incident and the houses of the defendants.
On the evidence of PW3, Justice kuteyi posited that the court can detect the presence of malice in it as there was a know crisis between him and the second defendant and that he never came to the police to make statement while he also failed to produce the recording of the confession of the first defendant, although he claimed that his phone got damaged but never pleaded this anywhere.
He therefore rejected the evidence of PW3 in its entirety while upholding the witnesses of the defendants in the case.
According to him, the first defendant, Gambo Alli, never failed to maintain his statement even when coarsed at the police station and later maintained that at the DSS office.
The court, therefore, dismissed the case in its entirety while declaring the two defendants in the case as discharged and acquitted.