By Jacob Akintunde, Akure
The Ondo state police command has arraigned Lance Corporal Sunday Awolola, a soldier who allegedly rape a 300-level student of Adekunle Ajasin University Akungba Akoko (AAUA) before a Magistrate Court sitting in Akure, the Ondo state capital.
Awolola was brought to the court on Wednesday by officers of police force following his involvement in the rape of the female student from the Department of Religious and African Studies of the university on July 31.
The 33-year-old suspect attached to the 32 Artillery Brigade, Akure, was said to have committed the offence which is contrary to section 357 and punishable under section 358 of the the criminal code cap 37 vol. Laws of the Ondo state of Nigeria at the military checkpoint situated in Ikare-Akoko in Akoko North East Local Government area of the state.
Earlier, the police prosecutor, Inspector Adeoye Adesegun, prayed the court to remanded the suspect in prison custody in order for the police to gather more facts on the case against the suspect.
But the presiding magistrate Mayowa Olanipekun ordered the soldier who had earlier been dismissed by the Nigerian Army to still be in police custody following an application seeking the remand of the suspect in prison custody by the police prosecutor.
Magistrate Olanipekun said, “the application brought before the court by the police had not been served on the counsel of the defendant.”
He advised that for proper hearing of rape case against the suspect to commence, the suspect should contact his lawyer in order to file a response to the application seeking his remand in prison custody.
Magistrate Olanipekun however adjourned the case till Friday, August 16, 2019 for the defence counsel to study the applications.
Meanwhile, Bola Joel-Ogundadegbe, FIDA Chairperson in Ondo State maintained that what was done in court was just for the defendant to appear before the court, stressing the defendant has not properly been arraigned.
According to her, the application by the police for remand did not work out, because application has not been served on the defendant counsel.
Also, Henry Adegbemile, the Special Assistant to Ondo State Governor on Special Duties who was at the court emphasized that, “the position of the law is that he is entitled to application requesting and seeking the order of the court to remand the suspect.
“Since the administration of criminal justice law allows him to respond to that application, the court is of the view that between now and the time he was served will not be sufficient for him to respond, even though he could respond orally, but he has since selected to have a legal representative.”