BRT-Train Accident: Lagos Court Refuses Bus Driver’s Bail Application

A Lagos High Court on Friday refused the bail application of the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) driver, Oluwaseun Osibanjo, whose role in the March 9 collision with a moving train led to the death of at least six persons with many others injured.

The incident, which occurred at the PWD, Ikeja area of Lagos, involved some judiciary staff workers and other staff workers of the state government who were on their way to work.

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In her ruling on the bail application, Justice Oyindamola Ogala held that Osibanjo’s health was stable after he had spent seven weeks in the Intensive Care Unit and had been discharged to face his trial.

Justice Ogala also ruled that the defendant could continue to receive medical care in custody.

According to her, the medical director of the custodial centre was the only authorised person who could issue a medical report that indicated the need for the defendant to get external medical care.

She said, “The law is well settled to the effect that when in detention or custody, the responsibility of affording the applicant access to proper medical facilities rests with those in whose custody he is, invariably the prison authorities.

“It is pertinent to state that though the applicant has placed before the court an exhibit (medical report) showing his state of health, same indicates that the defendant had stayed in the hospital for a total of seven weeks and has been discharged from the ICU and is fit for trial.

“The defendant has also not shown that the correctional centre does not have the required facilities to take adequate care of him.

“The court in its considered view finds that as at this time, the instant case does not warrant the exercise of its discretion in favour of granting the defendant bail. The defendant’s application for bail is hereby refused.”

At the last proceedings, the defence counsel, Lekan Egberongbe, asked the court to grant Mr Osibanjo bail to receive medical care on the grounds that the bus driver was an outstanding staff of Lagos State.

“My lord, the defendant has promised the court that he will not jump bail, escape upon release, or interfere with the investigation.

“We pray the court to grant bail to the defendant,” he said.

But, the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Babajide Martins, urged the court to refuse the bail application, saying the defendant is a flight risk.

“My lord, the witness may be scared of the weight of the sentence the charge against him carries.

“Moreover, there are a number of witnesses against him and he may likely interfere with the investigation, if granted bail.

“We hereby urge this honourable court to refuse the bail of the defendant,” he said.

So far, two witnesses have testified against the defendant. In May, the court heard the testimonies of a passenger in the bus, a 38-year old Civil Servant, Ogundeji Rotimi, as well as a Vehicle Inspection Officer (VIO), Ahmed Baruwa.

The defendant is standing trial on a 16-count charge bordering on involuntary manslaughter and grievous harm, preferred against him by the state government.

If found guilty, he risks a maximum life sentence under Sections 222 and 227 of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State.

Justice Ogala has adjourned till October 20 for the continuation of the trial.

Source: CHANNELS TV

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