…says family pressure, personal integrity behind action
A victim, who was allegedly gang-raped by Don-Chima George, son of the owner of Dallankester Hotels, and Olusegun Rasak, his friend, has asked the court to witdraw the rape case.
George and his friend were arraigned at the Lagos State Division of Domestic Violence and Sexual Offences Court in April of last.
The suspects had allegedly laced the victim’s drink with a substance that made her weak and took her to the hotel, where she was said to have been repeatedly raped, while the escapade was recorded.
At Thursday’s proceedings, the victim in a letter dated June 3, 2019, and titled ‘Letter of Withdrawal’, addressed to the Director of the Directorate of Public Prosecutions in Lagos State, requested the discontinuation of the defendants’ prosecution.
In the letter, which was read in court by Justice Abiola Soladoye, the victim stated that she was withdrawing the case because of family members’ intervention and her integrity.
However, the prosecutor, Akin George, opposed the complainant’s request.
He said, “We do not have a directive from the office of the attorney-general and my lord, the attorney-general is the complainant in this case.
“In every criminal matter, the victims are natural witnesses and as we speak, there is no AG in office due to the change in power and we are also aware of the rule of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law, which states that even the Court of Appeal cannot stay an ongoing proceeding.
“Our office initiated this action in court and there has to be a closure one way or the other. My Lord, we have submitted issues for the respective decisions of this court and we will bring the witness to state her position before the court, while we continue proceedings and await directives from the AG’s office.”
Responding, the defence counsel, Tunji Ayanlaja, said while he shared the views of the prosecution that Lagos State originated the criminal suit, he disagreed that the absence of the AG had created a vacuum.
He stated, “The constitution is so clear that when we do not have an AG in office, the solicitor-general takes over the function of the AG. My Lord, we are ready to proceed.
“The unfortunate thing is that the defendants have been in prison ever since. The complainant, who is the witness, has developed cold feet for one reason or the other; this development is replete in the letter by the complainant and to meet the end of justice, I apply that your lordship should consider releasing the defendants on bail.”
Justice Soladoye, however, noted that the court would continue with the proceedings and adjourned the case until June 18 for directives from the office of the AG.