Court Jails Driver for 12 Years Over Killing of LASTMA Officer

A Lagos State High Court in Ikeja on Thursday convicted and sentenced a commercial bus driver, Elijah Shokoya, to 12 years imprisonment for killing an officer of the Lagos State Traffic Management Agency.

Justice Oyindamola Ogala sentenced Shokoya after finding him guilty of the offence of manslaughter.

The judge held that the prosecution had proved beyond reasonable doubt the one count of the manslaughter of the LASTMA officer, Olawale Akinmade, who died on Wednesday, January 27, 2012.

The judge said, “The prosecution has established beyond reasonable doubt that the deceased died, that the unlawful acts of the Shokoya caused the death of the deceased, and that the acts of the convict which eventually caused the death of the deceased were with the knowledge that injury or grievous bodily harm was the probable consequence.”

The Lagos State Government had accused the convict of knocking down Akinmade with a blue and black Opel space bus with number plate AAA 74 GG while controlling traffic, and he suffered injuries to his head and body.

The prosecution, who said that the tragic incident occurred at Demurin Street junction inward Mile 12, stated that the offence contravened Section 224 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015, and is punishable under Section 229.

The convict was arraigned nine years after the incident on June 23, 2021, and pleaded not guilty to the one-count charge.

Delivering her judgement, Justice Ogala held that the sole issue for determination was whether the totality of the evidence before the court, of the prosecution, had successfully proved the charge of involuntary manslaughter preferred against Shokoya to enable it to convict him thereof.

The judge pointed out that the position of the law was indeed well settled that the burden of proof in criminal cases rests on the prosecution, and the standard of proof is proved beyond reasonable doubt.

She held, “As regards the death of Akinmade Samson Olawale, there seems to be no dispute as to the death of the deceased.

“The testimonies of the first prosecution witness, Aderonke Malik, testified that she saw Shokoya pushing the deceased into the front of his vehicle.

“Her testimony is that she ran there asking Shokoya to stop the car, but he did not, and that the deceased kept on banging the bonnet of the vehicle to stop.”

She testified that Shokoya did not stop until he knocked down the deceased.

“Also, in this instant case, it is instructive that the Investigating Police Officer also gave direct evidence of what she saw, heard and investigated. The court, therefore, finds that the evidence cannot be faulted as suggested by the defence in this instance.

“It must be pointed out that proof beyond reasonable doubt is not proof beyond every shadow of doubt. The degree of proof amounting to reasonable doubt need not reach certainty, but it will carry a high degree of probability.

“Once the ingredients of the offence the accused is charged with are proved, that constitutes proof beyond a reasonable doubt, and for him to be entitled to the benefit of the doubt, the doubt must be a genuine and reasonable one arising from some evidence before the court.

“The Honourable Court, therefore, finds Elijah Shokoya guilty of the one count charge of involuntary manslaughter he stands faced with and is accordingly convicted.

“I hereby sentence Shokoya to 12 years imprisonment from the day of judgment,” Justice Ogala held.


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