The Osun State Chief Judge, Justice Adepele Ojo, has reserved judgement in the case of Timothy Adegoke, a Master’s student of the Obafemi Awolowo University, who died in controversial circumstances at Hilton Hotel, Ile-Ife in November 2021.
Adegoke, who reportedly arrived at the hotel on November 5, was found dead on November 6, 2021 in his room, leading to the arrest of the hotel owner, Dr. Ramon Adedoyin, and six workers of the hotel.
Adedoyin and the six workers – Magdalene Chiefuna, Adeniyi Aderogba, Oluwole Lawrence, Oyetunde Kazeem, Adebayo Kunle, Adedeji Adesola – were arraigned on 18 counts bordering on murder, conspiracy and felony by the state.
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They all pleaded not guilty to all the charges
At the resumed hearing of the matter on Thursday, the prosecution and the defence adopted their final written addresses and canvassed concluding arguments.
In his submission, Adedoyin’s lawyer, Mr Yusuf Alli (SAN), argued that there was no link between his client and Adegoke’s death, beyond being the owner of the hotel where the death occurred.
Alli, who insisted that there was no vicarious liability in law, argued that the charges against his client and other defendants were based on suspicion and asked the court to discharge and acquit them.
Similarly, counsel for the workers, Muritala Abdulrosheed (SAN), Dr Rowland Otaru, (SAN), and Mr Okon Ita, all asked the court to dismiss the charges and set their clients free, contending that there were no compelling facts linking them to the crime.
Abdulrosheed said some of the defendants did not even have any contact with the late Adegoke, saying the murder charges could not be sustained.
But the prosecutor, Mr Femi Falana, urged the court to uphold the charges against the defendants.
Falana recalled that Adegoke’s corpse was dumped in the bush in an effort to hide the crime from the authorities by those involved.
Falana insisted that based on the evidence led before the court, the defendants should be pronounced guilty as charged.
Earlier, the defence had addressed the court on the eligibility of Falana to prosecute the case, insisting that he had no fiat from the Attorney General of Osun State.
Alli and other defence counsel said an application challenging Falana’s locus in the matter had been filed.
They asked the court to set aside Falana’s appearance in the trial and erase it from its records.
But Falana, who urged the judge to disregard the claims by the defence counsel, recalled that he was introduced by a legal team from Osun State Ministry of Justice, as the prosecutor of the matter before the commencement of trial.
After taking arguments from the lawyers, Justice Ojo said judgment would be delivered at a date within the next one month to be communicated to the lawyers.