A defence counsel, Olanrewaju Ajanaku, on Monday apologised to an Ikeja High Court on behalf of Dr Afeez Baruwa, an ex-lecturer of the University of Lagos (UNILAG) , whom he said slumped at home and cannot attend his trial.
Baruwa, is charged with allegedly rapingd an 18-year-old admission seeker (name withheld) in the school premises.
“I must sincerely apologise to the court. At 7.36 a.m. the defendant’s wife put a call across to me and said that the defendant slumped while he was in the bathroom and he was rushed to the hospital.
“I sought to speak to him but I was unable to do so because of his condition. His sureties have been contacted and informed to come to court and show that the defendant is ready and willing to attend his trial.
“They have not yet arrived court probably due to the time they were contacted.
“My Lord, from the inception of the matter, the defendant has not been absent from court. I therefore apologise to Your Lordship for his absence and pray for a further date for trial,” Ajanaku said.
Responding, Mr O. A Azeez, the state prosecutor said the state will not be objecting to the defence’s request for an adjournment.
“We have no objection, the defence counsel earlier told me what happened. It is only when a defendant is healthy that he can put up a defence,” he said.
Justice Josephine Oyefeso adjourned the case until May 31 for trial.
NAN reports that the prosecution, had on Jan. 23, 2018 closed its case against the embattled former lecturer.
Four prosecution witnesses had testified during the trial, including the complainant, her father, a medical doctor and the Investigating Police Officer (IPO) while two witnesses are to testify for the defence.
Baruwa, a married father of two and former part-time lecturer in the Department of Accounting in UNILAG, is facing a charge of rape.
The prosecution alleged that the former lecturer raped the complainant at 9.25 a.m. on July 23, 2015 in Room 8 at the Faculty of Business Administration Annex building.
Baruwa, who was friend of the complainant’s father, was requested by him to help his daughter secure admission into the institution.
The alleged rape occurred when she was in his office to make arrangements for her admission into the university.
UNILAG has, however, put up a disclaimer in respect of the lecturer.
The offence violated Section 258 of the Criminal Law of Justice, Laws of Lagos State 2011. (NAN)