An Ikeja Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Court presided over by Justice Abiola Soladoye has denied bail to a student of Babcock University, James Aguedo, accused of involvement in gang-rape of a student of the University of Lagos (Unilag).
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Soladoye in a ruling on Thursday said Aguedo, 20, did not provide compelling circumstances as to why the court should grant him bail.
“The essence of bail is to ensure the defendant’s attendance at trial. In deciding an application for bail, certain factors must be taken into consideration such as the nature of the charge and the evidence adduced.
“Grant of bail of a defendant in a criminal offence is not automatic, it is at the discretion of the court.
“I am, therefore, of the view that the application before the court has not shown any compelling or exceptional circumstances to warrant the court exercising its discretion in favour of the applicant.
“The application for bail is hereby refused, and the court shall give this case accelerated trial; I so hold,” the judge said.
NAN reports that Aguedo’s counsel, Mr Lawal Pedro (SAN), had on March 25 prayed the court to grant him bail to enable him to write examination at the Babcock University in April. He also submitted that the undergraduate suffered from ill-health and needed constant medical attention.
“He has a recurring back ailment. We brought not just a medical report but the history, because he has been attending an orthopaedic hospital.
“The prison facility is not conducive for him,” the SAN said.
Pedro had attached Aguedo’s school identity card and admission letter to the bail application dated March 13. Also attached were a National Orthopedic Hospital, Igbobi, Yaba, Lagos, appointment card, history of medical examination and a St Dominic’s Catholic Church’s letter of recommendation.
NAN reports that the student is standing trial alongside Moboluwaji Omowole, 19, Chuka Chukwu, 19, Peace Nwankama, 19 and Osemeka Josephine, 20. The defendants were charged with serial gang-rape of a Unilag student (name withheld). According to prosecution counsel, Mrs Fehinti Ogbemudia, the defendants committed the gang rape sometime in 2017 within the premises of Unilag.
The alleged victim had on Feb. 26 testified that she was lured by Nwankama who was her roommate to High Rise, a staff quarters hostel, in Unilag. She said she was gang-raped at High Rise by eight students, and that the sexual assault was video- taped.
According to the alleged victim, she was also blackmailed with the video and further gang-raped on other occasions by the defendants and their accomplices who are now at large. The five defendants have been remanded in the Kirikiri Prisons since Feb. 26, when they were arraignment. The case has been adjourned until May 2 for continuation of trial. (NAN)