Bus driver bags 12-year jail term for killing LASTMA officer

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The Lagos High Court sitting 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 (LASTMA).

Justice Oyindamola Ogala sentenced Shokoya after ruling that the prosecution, the Lagos State Government, had proven beyond a reasonable doubt the one-count charge of manslaughter brought against the driver for the death of a LASTMA officer, Olawale Akinmade.

Akinmade died on January 27, 2012.

The judge declared, “The prosecution has established beyond reasonable doubt that the deceased died, that the unlawful acts of the defendant caused the death of the deceased, and that the acts of the defendant 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 accused Shokoya of knocking down Akinmade with a blue and black Opel space bus with the number plate AAA 74 GG while the officer was controlling traffic.

Akinmade suffered injuries to his head and body from the incident, which occurred at the Demurin Street junction in the Mile 12 area of Lagos.

This act was contrary to Section 224 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015, and punishable under Section 229.

Shokoya was arraigned on June 23, 2021, and pleaded not guilty to the one-count charge.

In her judgment, Justice Ogala stated that the burden of proof in criminal cases rests on the prosecution, which must prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt.

Justice Ogala noted, “As regards the death of Akinmade Samson Olawale, there seems to be no dispute as to the death of the deceased.”

A first prosecution witness, Aderonke Malik, testified that she saw Shokoya pushing Akinmade in front of his vehicle and that despite her pleas to stop, Shokoya continued driving until he knocked down Akinmade.

Justice Ogala pointed out that the testimony of the Investigating Police Officer supported Malik’s account.

“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.

“The Honourable Court, therefore, finds the Defendant Guilty of the One Count charge of Involuntary Manslaughter he stands faced with and is accordingly convicted.

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

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