The Lagos High Court Sitting at the Tafawa Balewa Square in Lagos has dismissed a “No case submission” filed by the suspended Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP), Drambi Vandi, who allegedly killed a Lagos-based lawyer, Omobolanle Raheem on Christmas Day.

Justice Ibironke Harrison ordered the defendant to open his defence , holding that a ‘prima facie case” has been made against him.

The court also held that the prosecution led by the Attorney-General of Lagos, Mr. Moyosore Onigbanjo SAN had established sufficient oral and documentary evidence linking the defendant to the crime which require explanations from him.

The court said that the evidence of the defendant, being the only other eye-witness who was yet to testify before it about the incident, will shed light on what happened that day.

According to the judge, “The prosecution has established a prima facie case requiring some explanation by the defendant. The court isn’t looking at the credibility of the prosecution witnesses at this stage. The court will not delve into the substantive case right now. The only real issue now is whether a prima facie case has been made by the prosecution, and not whether it has proved its case beyond reasonable doubt.”

The court noted that some of the witnesses had testified that they saw the defendant shoot the deceased on Christmas Day, and that the defendant’s rifle was short of two ammunitions upon his arrest for the shooting.

In his application on the No Case Submission, Vandi asked the court to dismiss the suit and discharge him, claiming that he has no case to answer.

In his argument, his defence counsel, Mr. Adetokunbo Odutola told the court to note among other things that none of the eyewitnesses saw the defendant shoot the lawyer. He added that the ballistic report on the gun allegedly fired expressly stated that the bullet cannot be linked with any of the firearms recovered from the police officers at the scene.

Based on what he described as the “inconsistency and contradictions of the prosecution witnesses “from top to bottom,” Odutola urged the court to quash the charge against the Defendant and discharge him accordingly as the prosecution had failed in its attempt to make a prima facie case against him.

Onigbanjo had however countered, urging the court to order the defendant to open his defence. He insisted that the prosecution had successfully made its case against the police officer.

Before the prosecution closed its case on February 15, it had called eleven witnesses which included police officers, the husband and sister of the deceased, the ballistician and a pathologist, Dr. Oluwaseun Williams.

CHANNELS TV reports that in his reaction to the ruling, one of the defence counsel, Gbenro Gbadamosi told the court that the defence team will review the ruling and decide on whether to appeal.

The Lagos State Director of Public Prosecutions, Dr. Babajide Martins, however said that an interlocutory appeal of this nature will not stop the continuation of the trial in line with Section 273 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Laws of Lagos state. He applied for a date for further hearing. The case has been adjourned to May 16, 2023 for the defendant to open his defence.

On January 16, 2023, the prosecution arraigned ASP Vandi on a one-count charge of murder. The charge stated that he Vandi shot and killed the 41-year old pregnant property lawyer by shooting her in the chest, an offence contrary to Section 223 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State 2015. He pleaded not guilty to the charge.

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