Yoruba actor, Omiyinka Olanrewaju James, popularly known as Baba Ijesha, who was arraigned at a Special Offences and Domestic Violence Court in Ikeja, has been granted bail.
The actor, who is being tried by Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo over charges bothering on rape, sexual assault and abuse of a minor, was granted bail on the ground that it was his fundamental human rights.
According to the judge, the surety must be a resident of Lagos with a visible house address and payment of three years taxes.
Justice Taiwo stated, “One of the sureties must be a blood relation who will enter a N1 million bond with the Chief Register of Lagos State and one of the sureties must also be a legal practitioner.”
During the court proceeding, the Director of Public Prosecutions, Mrs Olayinka Adeyemi, said the state had filed six charges against the defendant, urging the court to take the defendant’s plea.
The actor was charged on six counts of sexual assault by penetration, indecent treatment of a child, and sexual assault, which contravene sections 259, 135, and 261 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State 2011, as well as 135, 263, and 262 Criminal Law of Lagos State 2015.
The prayer was granted and Baba Ijesha pleaded not guilty to all the charges levelled against him.
Subsequently, Mrs Adeyemi requested a trial date while asking the court to remand the defendant in a correctional facility pending commencement of trial.
In a counter-reaction, Baba Ijesha’s legal team, led by two Senior Advocates of Nigeria, Mr. Babatunde Ogala and Mr. Dada Awosika, along with 17 other lawyers, informed the court that they had filed a bail application and have served same on the prosecuting team.
Ogala urged the court to grant them an audience to argue the bail application.
However, the state counsel, Mrs Adeyemi, opposed the prayer, stating that her team was yet to verify the medical report which the defence relied on for his bail consideration.
In a short ruling, Justice Taiwo granted the request of the defence team and asked parties to argue the bail application.
During the argument of the bail application, Ogala urged the court to grant Baba Ijesha bail, relying on Section 105(2) and (3) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law of Lagos State, 2015, and Sections 35 and 36 of the 1999 Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).
According to Ogala, the defendant also ought to be granted bail considering his popularity and the credible sureties provided.
The judge, however, stood down the case for ruling, after which the defendant was granted bail.
The matter was subsequently adjourned to July 26, 27 and 28 for the case of the prosecution.