Osun State Chief Judge, Adepele Ojo, on Tuesday threatened to transfer the case of Hilton Hotels owner, Ile-Ife, Dr. Ramon Adedoyin, and six of his staff, standing trial over the death of a Masters student of Obafemi Awolowo University, Timothy Adegoke to another judge.
Justice Ojo, who handed down the threat because Adedoyin was absent in court, also said at the next sitting, if the hotel owner failed to show up, she might release the other six defendants on bail.
The court had adjourned the matter for the amendment of the charge against the defendants and adoption of final written addresses by the counsel.
At the day’s proceedings, six other defendants were present but Adedoyin was said to be indisposed.
The prosecution counsel, Fatimah Adesina, who held brief for Mr. Femi Falana, SAN, had said the matter was slated for ruling on the application for amendment of charge.
But when asked why Adedoyin was not in court, Adesina said Correctional Service officers informed her that the hotel owner was indisposed, adding that if the court would not object, the matter can proceed.
But Thanni Olalekan, holding brief for K. Eleja, the counsel representing Adedoyin and Muritala Abdulrosheed, SAN the counsel representing 2nd, 3rd and 5th defendants in their separate submissions, said the 1st defendant must be present before the matter could proceed.
Mr O. Yusuf, counsel to the 3rd and 6th defendants and Okon Ita, representing the 7th defendants both aligned with Olalekan and Abdulrosheed on the matter, lamenting the long period their clients have been held in detention
In her ruling, Justice Ojo, said, “It is unfortunate that this case which I informed everyone will take only six months seems to be taking longer time. I may have to transfer it to another judge, I don’t have more time on the bench.
“The court is not to blame for this I am sure, in line with submission of counsel, the presence of the defendant is very sacrosanct. Since he is not here I may have to transfer it to another judge with more years in service.
“With the way my mind is going, I may transfer it. I took pain to write rulings.
“Let me hint you, I have two options: either I transfer the case to another judge or grant them bail after this adjournment.”