Despite the COVID- 19 pandemic, the trial of the Founder of Sotitobire Miracle church, Akure, Alfa Babatunde and six members of his church resumed on Monday as scheduled.
Alfa Babatunde and his church members are standing trial over the dissaparance of one year old boy, Gold Kolawole in the church last year.
A Senior intelligence officer with the Department of State Service, DSS, Yomi Olabiyi gave evidence on the statements made by the defendants while in custody of the agency.
As part of the COVID- 19 precautionary measures, human access to the court was reduced while hand washing bowls and soap were also provided at the two gates.
During examination of the DSS personnel, the Director of Public Prosecution, Grace Olowoporoku sought to tender as evidence the statements made by Prophet Babatunde and defendants 2, 4, 6 and 7 while in the agency’s custody attested to by necessary persons including the defendants.
This position was however opposed by counsel to the defendants, Olusola Oke on the basis that at the time of obtaining the statements, it was the counsel provided by the DSS from the Legal Aid Council that was present contrary to claims of the agency that the counsel was engaged by their clients.
During cross examination by the defence counsel, the DSS officer said it wasn’t the duty of his office to exhume corpse while clearing the air if truly a corpse was found on the altar of the church.
The Judge, however ruled that section 17 of the administration of criminal justice law allows for a defendant’s counsel, a Legal Aid Council of Nigeria, Lawyer or Justice of Peace to be present when security agents elicit statements from suspects.
He ruled in favour of the adminisiblity of the statements made by prophet Babatunde and defendants 2, 4 , 6, 7 as evidence for the trial on the basis that it was confirmed that a Legal Aid Council of Nigeria’s Lawyer was present at the time of recording.
After over 6 hours of arguments and counter arguments, the court adjourned till April 27, May 11 and 17 for further hearing.
Prophet Babatunde and his Co defendants have been returned to the Olokuta facility of the Nigeria correctional Service.