The Lagos High Court Sitting at the Tafawa Balewa Square on Lagos Island has dismissed a “no case submission” filed by the suspended Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP), Drambi Vandi, who allegedly killed a Lagos-based lawyer, Omobolanle Raheem, on December 25, 2022.
Justice Ibironke Harrison ordered the defendant to open his defence as a ‘prima facie case” has been made against him.
The court also held that the prosecution led by the Attorney-General of Lagos, Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Moyosore Onigbanjo had established sufficient oral and documentary evidence linking the defendant to the crime, which required explanations from him.
The court said that the evidence of the defendant, being the only other eye witness who was yet to testify before it about the incident, will shed light on what happened that day.
“The prosecution has established a prima facie case requiring some explanation by the defendant. The court isn’t looking at the credibility of the prosecution witnesses at this stage. The court will not delve Into the substantive case right now. The only real issue now is whether a prima facie case has been made by the prosecution, and not whether it has proved its case beyond reasonable doubt.”
In his application on the no case submission, Vandi asked the court to dismiss the suit and discharge him claiming that he has no case to answer.
In his arguments, his defence counsel, Adetokunbo Odutola told the court to note among other things that none of the eyewitnesses saw the defendant shoot and that the ballistic report of the gun allegedly fired expressly stated that the bullet cannot be linked with any of the firearms recovered from the police officers at the scene.
Based on what he described as the “inconsistency and contradictions of the Prosecution Witnesses “from top to bottom”, Odutola urged the court to quash the charge against the Defendant and discharge him accordingly as the Prosecution had failed woefully in its attempt to make a prima-facie case against him.
The Attorney General of Lagos State had however countered the arguments and urged the defendant to defend himself insisting that the prosecution has successfully made its case against him.
Before the prosecution closed its case on February 15, it had called eleven witnesses which included police officers, the husband and sister of the deceased, the ballistician and a pathologist, Dr Oluwaseun Williams.
In its ruling today, the court noted that some of the witnesses had testified that they saw the defendant shoot the deceased that day and that the defendant’s rifle was short of two ammunition upon his arrest for the shooting.
In his reaction to the ruling, one of the defence counsel, Gbenro Gbadamosi, told the judge that the defence team will review the ruling and decide on whether to appeal.
The Lagos State Director of Public Prosecutions, Dr. Babajide Martins, however said that an interlocutory appeal of this nature will not stop the continuation of the trial in line with Section 273 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Laws of Lagos state, and he applied for a date for further hearing.
The case has been adjourned till May 16 for the defendant to open his defence.
On January 16, 2023, the prosecution arraigned ASP Vandi on a one-count charge of murder.
The charge stated that he shot and killed the 41-year old pregnant property lawyer by shooting her in the chest, an offence contrary to Section 223 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.
He pleaded not guilty to the charge.