Israel Mba, the lawyer representing the family of Monsurat Ojuade, the 18-year-old lady killed by a rogue police officer in the Ijeshatedo area of Lagos on September 10, has said the charge filed by the Lagos State Police Command against the killer cop does not indicate his shoot-to-kill intention.
In the charge filed by the police, the accused was said to have shot at a dwelling house while on a raid in the area.
“That you, Philip Samuel ‘M’, on the 10th day of September, 2021, at about 2:30hrs., at No. 53 Mogaji Street, Ijeshatedo, Lagos, in the Lagos Magisterial District, whilst in a criminal raid operation, did unlawfully release gunshot into the aforesaid dwelling house/building, which hit one Monsurat Ojuade ‘F’, aged 18 years, on her two thighs to death, and thereby commited an offence punishable under Section 223 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015,” the charge reads.
Speaking with FIJ, Mba said the police were playing with words, as the language of the charge was capable of changing the case from intentional murder to manslaughter.
“We have noticed this in the condolence letter sent to the deceased’s family, where they said Monsurat was hit by a stray bullet,” he said. “And they are still making a reference to the same thing in the charge. This is a premeditated murder, and it must be addressed that the accused shot and killed the deceased.
“I will meet with the police prosecutor and we will redraft and file another charge.”
Sergeant Samuel Philips, the police officer who killed Monsurat Ojuade, appeared before Yaba Magistrate Court on Friday, September 24. According to Mba, being a case of murder, the jurisdiction to hear it lies with the high court. An exception is where the Department of Police Prosecution advises the magistrate otherwise.
“The case has been adjourned until October 25, as we wait for the advice of the Department of Public Prosecution (DPP) on whether the magistrate should go on with the case or not,” he said.
“This process makes no sense to me because on October 25, the DPP might say, ‘Take the case to the high court’. Why not just charge this person to the high court and avoid needless waste of time. And sometimes, the DPP’s advice might be delayed.”
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