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Thank God for the intelligent judge, who said the
public have already been informed and the press
have the right to keep them informed. The story by
Punch;
The courtroom of a
Lagos Magistrate Court sitting in Ikeja was filled to
capacity on Monday as a
University of Lagos lecturer, Dr. Afeez Baruwa, who is
standing trial for
allegedly raping an 18-year-old admission
seeker, showed up in court for trial.
This was just as the counsel for the defendant, Kunle
Abimbola, lamented the negative press coverage
given to his client’s case,
adding that such publications already
presumed the defendant to be guilty.
Punch Metro had reported on September 10 that
Baruwa, a lecturer from the univeristy’s Distance
Learning Institute, who had been in
remand at the Krikiri Prison since August 7,failed to
show up in court.

The presiding magistrate, Mr. T. Elias, had
adjourned the
case till Monday, September 21, 2015, for
the outcome of the DPP’s advice.

However, Baruwa showed up in court for the
continuation of his trial on Monday.
Our correspondent also observed the victim and her
parents sitting among the crowd.

The defence counsel, Abimbola, who brought an
affidavit sworn to by Baruwa’s wife to show the
lecturer’s failing health, sought the
court’s permission to perfect the bail of
Baruwa.
The counsel, who put forward several
newspaper publications on Baruwa, said it was
wrong that his client was being tried by the media in
the eyes of the general public.

He said, “The state of my client’s health
should be considered. We also have to seek a
protection of the man from the press. It is not fair
that the defendant is being tried by the media.
“This is contrary to Section 36 (5), of the
constitution.

There are several publications that attest to this,
including an interview
granted to the Dean of the UNILAG’s Faculty of
Business Administration, where
my client was called all sort of names.

“I urge the court to call the newspapers to order, and
we urge you to come to the aid of the defendant.”

The OPD lawyer, Ibikunle, said the
publication of the matter
in the newspaper was not unconstitutional
as the general public had already
been informed, and had the right to have
information on the matter as it
progressed.

She added that the affidavit brought before
the court
establishing Baruwa’s ill-health, did not have
any medical report.

The Magistrate, Elias, who went through one
of the
newspapers’ publication briefly, said the
case was awaiting advice from the
Department of Public Prosecutions.
He thereafter adjourned the matter till
November 13, 2015.

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