I signed police statement dictated by Princess under duress, Baba Ijesha claims
Nollywood actor, James Olanrewaju also known as Baba Ijesha, who is currently being charged assaulting a 14 year old minor, yesterday told an Ikeja Special Offences Court, Lagos that he was forced to sign a police statement which was dictated by popular comedienne, Damilola Adekanya also know as Princess,
The 48-year-old actor told the court that he was beaten with a stick, while being forced to sit on the floor and thereby signed the statement under duress.
Baba Ijesha however denied making a voluntary statement at the police station, upon his arrest.
The defendant made this claims during a trial-within-trial to ascertain the voluntariness of his statement.
The actor, who is currently on bail, is standing trial on a six count charge of sexual assault by penetration, indecent treatment of a child and attempted sexual assault of a 14-year-old minor, who is the foster daughter of a popular comedienne, Princess.
According to Baba Ijesha, he signed the statement under duress and
The defendant said that everything in the statement was dictated to the police by the comedienne and complainant, Princess.
The defendant, while led in evidence by his Counsel, Dada Awosika, SAN, said “My cloth was torn, I was forced to sit on the ground. My body was shaking. They showed me the statement, I did not volunteer the statement. I was just asked to sign it. Princess dictated everything to them.”
Baba Ijesha said that when Inspector Oname Abigail arrived Princess’ house on April 19, the day he was arrested, the complainant hid some boys who were beating him inside a room before allowing her to come inside.
He said that when he was led outside, some boys again came and beat him until he was rescued by some police officers who took him on a bike to Sabo Divisional Police Headquarters and locked him up in a cell after they had removed the handcuffs on his hand.
Under cross examination by the prosecuting counsel, Yusuf Sule, the defendant insisted that he did not volunteer the statement but that the content was dictated to the police by the complainant.
He also denied knowledge of the current residence of the complainant, insisting that only her former residence was known to him.
Baba Ijesha failed to respond when confronted by the prosecution that the IPO could not have known his details if he did not volunteer any information to her.
Earlier, an Inspector Abigail, under examination by Awosika said the defendant freely volunteered his statement and that it was made without duress.
The inspector insisted that she read cautionary words to Baba Ijesha and that he confirmed to understand English and everything she read to him.
She said: “the defendant was shaking when I was about to take his statement. I offered him a chair to sit to relax him but he said he preferred sitting on the floor “to enable him stretched out his legs.
“I calmed him down and told him he has to write his statement. I asked him questions in English and he responded to all of them in English.
He requested that I should help him to write his statement as he could not write because he was shaking.
“When we finished, I read the statement to him and he said he understood everything and signed afterwards.
“After taken the statement of both the complainant and defendant, I took them back to the DPO,” she said.
Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo thereafter adjourned till December 2 for adoption of final written addresses