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Court Sentence Bus Driver To 12 Years Imprisonment For Killing LASTMA Officer

The Lagos High Court in Ikeja, on Thursday, sentenced a commercial bus driver, Elijah Shokoya, to 12 years in prison for the manslaughter of Olawale Akinmade, an officer of the Lagos State Traffic Management Agency (LASTMA).

Justice Oyindamola Ogala ruled that the Lagos State Government had proven beyond a reasonable doubt that Shokoya’s actions led to the death of Akinmade on January 27, 2012.

The prosecution has established that the deceased died due to the unlawful acts of the defendant, and that these acts were done with the knowledge that injury or grievous bodily harm was the probable consequence,” said Justice Ogala.

Shokoya was accused of knocking down Akinmade with a blue and black Opel space bus, license plate AAA 74 GG, while the officer was directing traffic.

Akinmade sustained fatal head and body injuries from the incident, which occurred at the Demurin Street junction towards the Mile 12 area of Lagos.

The charges were brought under Section 224 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015, punishable under Section 229. Shokoya, who was arraigned on June 23, 2021, pleaded not guilty to the charge.

In her judgment, Justice Ogala focused on whether the evidence presented by the prosecution successfully proved the charge of involuntary manslaughter. She noted that the prosecution bears the burden of proof in criminal cases, and this proof must be beyond a reasonable doubt.

There is no dispute regarding the death of Akinmade Samson Olawale,” the judge said.

Aderonke Malik, the first prosecution witness, testified that she saw Shokoya push Akinmade in front of his vehicle. Despite her pleas for Shokoya to stop, he did not, and Akinmade was knocked down.

The Investigating Police Officer also provided direct evidence of her observations and findings, which the court found credible and reliable.

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.

“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.

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