An Ijede Magistrate court, sitting in Ikorodu Division of the Lagos State Judiciary, has sentenced a middle aged man, Olamide Oyekola Yinusa, to 18 months imprisonment for presenting himself as a lawyer.
Magistrate (Mrs) A. Oshodi-Makanju jailed Yinusa six months for each of three offences out of seven count charge offences for which he was charged before the court.
He would however spend six months in prison as the sentences would run concurrently from date of arraignment.
Yinusa, a father of one, was arrested within Ikorodu court on October 22, last year while presenting himself to some unsuspected clients as a lawyer and was subsequently arraigned three days after, on October 25, last year before Magistrate Oshodi-Makanju.
The Police had arraigned him on a seven count charge offence before the court bordering on conspiracy, obtaining money on false pretence, for unauthorised use of wig and gown of lawyers and for falsely presenting himself as a lawyer among others.
The complainant, Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Ikorodu Branch prosecuting team was led by its Vice Chairman who is also the chairman of Human Rights and Pro Bono Committee, Prince Adetayo Ladega during the trial that lasted five months. Other members of the team are Mr Dapo Akodu and Mrs A. Agusionu.
Although Yinusa earlier entered a not guilty plea on arraignment but moderated his plea in the course of trial when evidences were presented and admitted by the court as exhibits against him.
He denied counts three, four, five and six but admitted and pleaded guilty offences listed in count one, two and seven.
In his allocutos, the convict pleaded for mercy on the grounds that he is an orphan and the only bread winner of his family and promised to change and not to present himself as a lawyer again.
Magistrate Oshodi-Makanju subsequently found him guilty on the three counts to which he admitted the offences and jailed him for six months on each of the offences.
Police prosecution, Woman Sergeant Kemi Adeniran told the court that sometimes in September last year within Ikorodu Magisterial District, Yinusa, with two others now at large allegedly conspired amongst themselves to commit felony by obtaining money under false pretence contrary to Section 312 (a) of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State of Nigeria 2011.
Adeniran told the court that the convict allegedly collected N90,000 from the family of one Kusoju that had a case bordering on malicious damage before a court under the pretext that the money would be used to perfect his bail but never did contrary to Section 312 (a) of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State of Nigeria 2011.
The Police Prosecutor had further alleged that the convict allegedly collected N20,000 from one Samuel Ajetumobi for the purpose of paying the Police and Court Sheriff to unlock a room in dispute; N35,000 from one Elizabeth Okon whose son Micheal had a case at Panti Police station on the pretext that he was going to use the money to process his bail and another N150,000 from one Elekwachi Christiana Ijeoma on the pretext of securing an apartment for her but never did Section 312 (a) of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State of Nigeria 2011.
The convict in addition was alleged to have obtained original copy of call to bar certificate of a lawyer and practicing with lawyers wig and gown under the pretext of keeping same for her.
He was in addition alleged to have worn the lawyer’s wig and gown and presented himself within Ikorodu Magisterial district as a lawyer contrary to Section 78 (b) of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State of Nigeria 2011.
The convict pleaded not guilty to the seven-count charge offence preferred against him by the Police.
Although he admitted not being a lawyer, he claimed to have attended Nigerian Law School, Bwari in 2005 but dropped out following the death of his parents in a crisis that occurred in Jos in 2005.
The convict contended that he did not steal the lawyer’s wig and gown and that the N150,000 collected from Christiana was a gift and not meant for rent.
He said a part of the N90,000 collected from the family of Kusoju was given to one Aniba to enable him stand surety for the accused person and for processing of the bail bond.
1st March, 2017