There was a mild drama at the Ikeja Division of the Lagos State High Court on Wednesday when prosecution lawyer, Adebayo Arun, wrongly arraigned a suspect before Justice Sedoten Ogunsanya for allegedly dispossessing one Oyedele Akintunde of his unregistered Toyota Camry car at gun point along the Oshodi-Abeokuta expressway in Lagos.
Moments after the charges were read to him, Mustapha Mohammed, the suspect, notified the court of his intention to speak.
“The charges read to me are not the crime I committed,” the suspect told the judge.
“Because the crime I committed took place at Agidingbi in Ikeja and not Oshodi.”
A.O Okorie, counsel to the defendant, corroborated the claims of his client stating that “he is a security man at a mechanic workshop at Agidingbi, Ikeja. It is very close to a Celestial Church and I have actually visited the workshop myself.”
The judge, surprised at the development, questioned the identity of the actual suspect.
“Are you sure this is not an issue of mistaken identity, because the defendant has just said that the offence he committed was not at Oshodi and the Mustapha Mohammed in the charge committed the crime at Oshodi?”
“The offence was committed in 2013 and the defendant has been in custody since 2012. Was he released by the Prison service to go and commit the crime and then come back to the prison?”
In his response, Mr. Arun apologised to the court. He said it was a case of a prison inmate bearing the same name as the accused.
The case was adjourned to June 28 for clarity on the identity of the suspect.
The real Mr. Mohammed was to be arraigned on a two-count charge bordering on conspiracy to commit robbery and armed robbery which are contrary to Sections 297 and 295 (2) (a) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011.