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Female Lawyer Who "Killed" Husband In Lagos Begs Court To Reject Her Confession

Justice Adedayo Akintoye will on April 11 rule whether or not to conduct a trial-within-trial on the confessional statement made by a female lawyer, Udeme Otike-Odibi, standing trial for the murder of her lawyer-husband, Symphorosa Odibi.

Justice Adedayo fixed the date after taking submissions from counsel in the matter.

But at resumed proceeding on Thursday, Otike-Odibi’s counsel, Mr Oluseye Banjoko, prayed the court not to conduct a trial-within-trial to determine the admissibility of two confessional statements allegedly made by her during police investigations.

He urged the court to reject the alleged confessional statements pointing out that the provision of the law was not followed.

He told the court that the statements were not obtained in accordance with the provisions of Section 93 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law (ACJL) of Lagos State, 2015.

Banjoko argued that the constitution provided that the statement of any person arrested must be made in the presence of a lawyer or videoed to ensure transparency.

He said the request by the defence was to avoid a waste of time in conducting a trial-within-trial to determine admissibility of statements.

The Prosecutor, Lagos State Director of Public Prosecutions, Ms Titilayo Shitta-Bey (DPP), represented by Babatunde Sunmonu, submitted that the constitution provided that the substantive law to be adhered to in determining the admissibility of any piece of evidence would be the Evidence Act.

Sunmomu said that the ACJL on which the defence counsel was leaning on was a procedural law which could not supercede the evidence act.

To buttress his submission, Sunmonu cited two Court of Appeal cases which included Chijioke Emmanuel versus Federal Republic of Nigeria decided April 2018 saying that the appellate court in the matter held that the provisions of the evidence act should be followed in proving the admissibility of any piece of evidence.

He said the Court of Appeal went further to state that Section 93 of ACJL was only relevant to the weight to be attached to the admissibility of any evidence after a trial-within-trial had been conducted.

He therefore urged the court to proceed with the trial-within-trial to determine the admissibility of the statements allegedly made by Otike-Odibi.

Responding on points of law, Banjoko said that the cases which the prosecution cited during their argument did not comply with the provisions of Section 14 of the Evidence Act which stated that “evidence obtained in contravention of a law is inadmissible”.

Banjoko, urged the court to consider his arguments.

The prosecution also replied the defence on points of law and argued that it is not how evidence was obtained that determines its admissibility.

“So far allegations of torture, incitement, or inducement were not mentioned, whether there was video recording or presence of a lawyer during statement taking, such will not render the statement in-admissible”.

After listening to the submissions of counsel, Justice Akintoye adjourned the matter till April 11 for ruling.

Udeme Otike-Odibi was arraigned on June 13, 2018, on a two-count charge of murder of her husband, Symphorosa, and misconduct with regard to his corpse.

According to the prosecutor, Udeme stabbed Symphorosa, also a lawyer, to death and mutilated his corpse by cutting off his genitals, on May 3, 2018. The prosecutor said that the defendant committed the offences at their residence on Diamond Estate, Sangotedo, Lekki, Lagos State.

Udeme, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges.

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