A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos State has struck out charges of homosexuality filed against 57 people including controversial cross dresser James Obialor aka James Brown.
The Judge, Rilwan Aikawa, on Tuesday, said the charges against the defendants lacked “diligent prosecution” by the police. According to him, J. I Ebhoremen, the prosecuting counsel, was, for the umpteenth time, absent from court and gave no reasonable explanation.
The defence counsel, Israel Usman, had noted that it was the ninth time Mr Ebhoremen did not show up in court since the case started in 2019.
He pointed the judge’s attention to Section 356(5) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015 which provided a maximum of five adjournments at the instance of the prosecution in a criminal trial.
In his ruling, Mr Aikawa held, “I agree with defendants’ counsel that the prosecution’s attitude to this case is not satisfactory. In my view, this should not be. If the prosecution has a cogent reason not to be in court, he should have communicated in writing to the court and copy the defence counsel.
For whatever reason, the prosecution is no more capable or not willing to prosecute this case. Consequently, this case is struck out due to a lack of diligent prosecution.”
Recall that armed police officers stormed a hotel in Egbeda around 2 am in Lagos State and arrested 57 youth in August 2018 over homosexual activity.