Christchurch mosque attacks: Gunman pleads guilty to murder, attempted murder and terrorism | Stuff.co.nz

The man accused of the Christchurch mosque attacks has entered shock guilty pleas, bringing relief to survivors and victims’ families.

Amid extraordinary coronavirus lockdown restrictions, Brenton Tarrant, 29, appeared via video-link in the High Court at Christchurch on Thursday morning and admitted 51 charges of murder, 40 charges of attempted murder and a charge of engaging in a terrorist act.

He’d previously pleaded not guilty to all the charges and was scheduled to stand trial on June 2.

GEORGE HEARD/STUFF
Fifty-one people died as a result of the March 15, 2019 attack.

Tarrant, who wore a grey prisoner sweater, was largely silent and emotionless throughout the hearing. He sat alone in a white room with a grey door at Auckland Prison, Paremoremo, where he’s held in maximum security.

The terrorist’s lawyers, Shane Tait and Jonathan Hudson, appeared via video-link from another court room.

Brenton Tarrant pleads guilty to murder, attempted murder and terrorism via AVL in the Christchurch High Court.

The names of all 51 people killed were read to Tarrant, before he was asked how he pleaded to the murder charges.

He replied: “Yes, guilty.”

The same process was followed for the attempted murder charges.

JOHN KIRK-ANDERSON/STUFF
Terrorist Brenton Tarrant pictured at his first court appearance, the day after the mosque shootings.

Justice Cameron Mander remanded Tarrant in custody, but has not yet set a date for sentencing, when the summary of facts would be made public.

Few people knew of the special hearing, which was only scheduled late Wednesday, on the eve of an unprecedented nationwide lockdown to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus.

Six New Zealand journalists attended. Also in court were the imams from both targeted mosques. An-nur (Al Noor) imam Gamal Fouda was visibly upset as the guilty pleas were entered.

JOSEPH JOHNSON/STUFF
Mustafa Boztas still has a fragment of a bullet inside him.

The hearing concluded at 10.30am, but the judge suppressed the outcome for an hour to allow victims, who were unaware of the hearing, to be notified.

The decision to hold the hearing amid the national state of emergency was not made lightly.

Earlier in the week Tarrant indicated to counsel that he might change his pleas. A formal request was made on Wednesday that the matter be brought before the court.

DAVID WALKER/STUFF
Omar Abdel-Ghany, whose father Ahmed Gamal Eldin Abdel-Ghany was killed at Masjid An-Nur.

Mander said both the Crown and defence asked to have the hearing expedited, despite the severe health restrictions.

The courts were considered an essential public service that was able to deal with “priority proceedings without compromising people’s health”.

The judge said he felt the court had the capacity to safely hear the matter by limiting the number of people in court. In total, 17 people were present.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern reflects on the last year following the Christchurch mosque shootings.

It was regrettable the Covid-19 restrictions prevented victims from attending, he said, but the imams had been asked to be present to bear witness to the proceedings.

“It was my assessment that taking the defendant’s pleas at this time was the appropriate course in the circumstances,” Mander said.

“The entry of guilty pleas represents a very significant step towards bringing finality to this criminal proceeding, and I considered the need to take the opportunity to progress the matter was particularly acute coming as it has at a time when the risk of further delay as a result of Covid-19 was looming as realistic possibility.”

Mander said the defendant would not be sentenced before the court returned to normal operations.

The defendant had been remanded to a nominal date of May 1. It was hoped a sentencing date would be confirmed in the interim.

“It is fully anticipated that all who wish to attend court for the sentencing hearing will be able to do so in person.”  

On March 15 last year, Tarrant drove from his Dunedin home to Christchurch with an arsenal of guns and ammunition he’d amassed since moving from Australia to New Zealand in 2017.

The white supremacist entered Masjid An-nur (also known as the Al Noor Mosque) on Deans Ave as Friday prayers were beginning, about 1.40pm, and opened fire – killing and wounding dozens of people.

He then drove across town to the Linwood Mosque where he continued his shooting spree.

Tarrant was arrested a short time later after his car, a gold Subaru Outback, was rammed off the road by two police officers on Brougham St as he tried to make his way to a third target, though to be a mosque in Ashburton, where he planned to carry out another attack.

When police searched the vehicle they found several guns and petrol bombs.

NZ’S WORST MASS SHOOTING

In total, 51 people were killed in the terrorist attack, the worst mass shooting by an individual in New Zealand history.

Tarrant was the first person to be charged under NZ’s Terrorism Suppression Act 2002.

Omar Abdel-Ghany, whose father Ahmed Gamal Eldin Abdel-Ghany was killed at Masjid An-Nur, said he could not understand what caused Tarrant to change his plea.

“I’m both shocked and relieved. Shocked at the sudden change in plea, relieved that my family and I, along with other victims won’t have to relive it all through the courts.”

Muslim Association of Canterbury spokesman Tony Green said his immediate reaction was one of enormous relief and great gratitude.

“I think the victims will feel a huge weight has been lifted from their shoulders. Our position has always been to let justice take its course, but a trial would have put a lot of pressure on our families. If you look at the anguish caused by the trial of Grace Millane’s killer you can see how bad it would be for 51 families.”

Mustafa Boztas, who lay on the ground inside the Masjid An-nur with a bullet in his leg, pretending to be dead, said from Turkey he always knew Tarrant would be found guilty. 

“I feel he basically played with our minds and emotionally upset us more for no reason.”

Boztas said he would have stayed in the country instead of going overseas if he’d known Tarrant was going to plead guilty. 

“While it can’t undo the damage it has brought upon our community and country, it gives me hope that this help bring not only justice but some closure to those touched by this event.

“To the families, I hope this brings you peace, and a sense that love can conquer hate. While this closes the criminal proceedings for the shootings, please know there is still a long way to go in recovery for some of us, so thank you for your continued support.”

Yasir Amin, whose father 67-year-old Muhammad Amin Nasir was shot in the back by the gunman shooting from his car, said the guilty pleas were good news.

“It’s good to avoid a trial because we would be reminded of everything, every day of the six week trial. We’ve avoided that mental torture and we’re not in a situation where the outcome is not 100 per cent sure.”

Nasir was to undergo another operation on Monday but the operation was postponed due to Covid-19 measures. He had spent two months in hospital after the shootings and had another 20-day stay in December.

“He is now doing well. He goes for walks and eats well.”

Just about every organ in his father’s body except his heart had been damaged by the shotgun pellets, Amin said.

Nasir was shot about 200 metres from the mosque on Deans Ave. The gunman drove past Amin and his father, who were walking to the mosque along the footpath, when he aimed a shotgun at them from his car. Both ran for their lives but Nasir was shot. Their plight was captured by a motel CCTV camera. 

‘HE’S GOT TO PAY THE TIME’

Tarrant’s grandmother, Marie Fitzgerald, had no idea about the plea until called by Stuff.

“I feel sorry he did the crime, but he’s got to pay the time now.”

She declined to comment further.

Victim Support chief executive Kevin Tso said support was ongoing for hundreds of victims who still need help coping with the trauma of the event and rebuilding their lives.

“We’re pleased victims no longer have to face the trauma of the trial.”

The victims had shown remarkable courage and resilience in the face of a heart-breaking, shocking and senseless tragedy, Tso said.

“They have our utmost respect and promise that we will be here for them for as long as they need us.”

Police Commissioner Mike Bush said the pleas were a “significant milestone in respect of one of our darkest days”.

“I want to acknowledge the victims, their families and the community of Christchurch – the many lives that were changed forever. They have inspired all of us to be a kind and more tolerant community.”

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said it would provide some relief to the many people whose lives were “shattered” on March 15.

“These guilty pleas and conviction bring accountability for what happened and also save the families who lost loved ones, those who were injured, and other witnesses, the ordeal of a trial,” she said.

Related posts

Colorado ‘Psychic Kay’ killer files murder case appeal

person

‘Psychic Kay’ killer files appeal claiming attorneys failed to inform him of plea offer


Sady Swanson


Fort Collins Coloradoan
Published 11:25 PM EST Jan 31, 2020
John Marks Jr. (right) is serving 48 years to life in prison after a jury found him guilty of murdering his wife of 20 years, Kathy Adams, 57, in 2010.
Fort Collins Coloradoan archive

The man sentenced to prison for the murder of the 57-year-old Fort Collins woman known as “Psychic Kay” has filed an appeal claiming his attorneys failed to properly advise him of potential plea agreements.

John Marks Jr., now 57, was found guilty of second-degree murder and sexual assault in the 2010 death of his wife, Kathy Adams, known as “Psychic Kay.” He was sentenced to 48 years to life in 2012 and is currently serving his sentence at the Fremont Correctional Facility in Canon City. 

Adams’ body was recovered from a ravine off U.S. Highway 36 near the Boulder-Larimer County line in October 2010, according to Coloradoan archives. Marks was arrested on suspicion of second-degree murder about two weeks after her body was found. Initial arrest documents indicated that Marks was abusive and Adams had planned to escape to Atlanta and live with family before she was killed.

Marks pleaded not guilty in his initial case and has maintained his innocence, according to his previous defense attorney. 

Online court records indicate documents were filed to reopen the case in 2015, and the first petition was filed May 2017. The appeal was filed under Colorado criminal procedure that allows for a request for post-conviction relief if attorneys provided ineffective counsel during a criminal case. If approved, the judge could order a new trial or a modified sentence. 

Cold cases: There are 1,700 cold cases in Colorado. Could genealogy sites be the key to cracking them?

On Friday afternoon, Marks appeared in a Larimer County courtroom, where his attorney argued to 20th Judicial District Judge Nancy Salomone that Marks’ criminal defense attorneys failed to properly inform him of an offered plea agreement during his 2012 trial.

During Friday’s hearing, the defense attorneys and prosecutors from the 2012 trial denied the assertion that a midtrial plea offer — or that any formal plea offer — was made in the case. 

Defense attorney Derek Samuelson was appointed to be Marks’ attorney about a year into the case — in fall 2011 — after the public defender’s office removed themselves due to a conflict of interest, Samuelson testified Friday. 

Police shooting: Berthoud family sues Larimer County for shooting, ‘raiding’ at their home last year

After his appointment, Samuelson said he reached out to now Second Assistant District Attorney Emily Humphrey, the lead prosecutor on Marks’ case, to suggest a potential plea offer of manslaughter instead of second-degree murder. Humphrey refused the suggestion, Samuelson said.

Shortly after that exchange, Samuelson said he met Humphrey and now Larimer County District Attorney Cliff Riedel, Humphrey’s supervisor at the time, at a coffee shop in September 2011 to discuss the potential for a plea offer.

An email sent after that meeting from Samuelson to another defense attorney assisting with the case — Lisabeth Castle — said the district attorney suggested they may be open to an offer involving Marks’ pleading guilty to second-degree murder in a heat of passion, which could have led to a lesser sentence.

The discussion was not an official offer, Samuelson said.

Per the district attorney’s office policy, according to testimony by Humphrey and Riedel on Friday, to minimize harm to the victims or the family in a sexual assault or murder case, prosecutors might tell a defense attorney what they might consider a fair plea offer first. Then, if the defendant comes back with interest in taking a plea offer similar to what they discussed, that’s when the prosecution would bring the idea of a plea agreement to the victim or the victim’s family, not before that point. 

“There was absolutely no formal offer made to (Samuelson),” Humphrey testified Friday.

After having the initial discussion with Humphrey and Riedel, Samuelson said he went to the Larimer County Jail to speak with Marks. Because pleading guilty to second-degree murder in a heat of passion would still likely mean decades in prison, Samuelson said Marks declined to move further with it.

“What he told me was motivating him was innocence,” Samuelson said.

Hey Google, what’s the news in Fort Collins? You asked Google. We answered. Find it all in the free NoCoAsks newsletter. Sign up today! 

Castle also testified that no midtrial offer was conveyed to her, and she was not aware of one being conveyed to Samuelson or directly to Marks. 

“And (if we did receive a midtrial offer) I think that’s something we would’ve encouraged him to take,” Castle testified.

The appeal hearing was initially scheduled to finish Friday afternoon, but attorneys and the judge agreed that a second day of testimony is necessary. Because of scheduling conflicts, a date for the second day of the hearing has not yet been scheduled. 

Samuelson, who was not able to finish testifying Friday afternoon, will resume his testimony at that hearing.

Sady Swanson covers crime, courts, public safety and more throughout Northern Colorado. You can send your story ideas to her at sswanson@coloradoan.com or on Twitter at @sadyswan. Support our work and local journalism with a digital subscription at Coloradoan.com/subscribe.

Related posts

Sotitobire: 37-year-old man nabbed over Ondo missing child from Ondo church – Daily Post Nigeria

person

The Ondo State Police Command has confirmed the arrest of a 37-year-old man identified as Elike Chubuzor, over the disappearance of one-year-old Gold Kolawole from an Ondo church.

According to the state’s Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, CSP Femi Joseph, who disclosed this on Friday, said that the self-acclaimed abductor is currently in the custody of the police.

Speaking on the arrest of the suspect, the PPRO emphasized that Chubuzor, who claimed to have the baby was arrested by police detectives in Port-Harcourt.

Recall that Gold went missing at Sotitobire Praising Chapel, Solagbade street, Oshinle quarters, Akure, the Ondo State capital, on the 10th of November, 2019 during a Sunday service.

The situation has led to the arrest and subsequent remand of the founder of the church, Prophet Alfa Babatunde and six other church members at a Correctional Facility.

It was gathered that Chibuzor, who claimed to be ‘Adamu’ had allegedly confessed that two popular clergymen commissioned him to kidnap the missing boy to blackmail Prophet Alfa.

Chibuzor was reportedly tracked down in Port Harcourt, Rivers State after fleeing Imo State following a text message he sent to the phone of Prophet Babatunde.

Counsel of the Sotitobire founder, Olusola Oke, who disclosed also confirmed Chiba Zoe’s arrest, said he has thrown up hiding revelations over the incident.

Oke said, “On December 14, 2019, Prophet Alfa Babatunde received a text message on his phone from one Adamu who claimed to have abducted Gold Kolawole from the premises of Sotitobire church for the purpose of setting the prophet up.

“It was based on the text message that detectives from the state police command tracked the phone line and traced the sender to Imo State, but he was eventually nabbed in Port Harcourt, Rivers state where he flees to. He is currently helping the police on their investigation on the missing boy.”

“Let me also tell you this very important message; the police are closed on the perpetrators of this drastic act, and I can assure you that the outcome will shock everyone, and it will shake the whole structure of this city to it foundation. That is when we will all appreciate the good job done by the police and not the fire brigade approach of men of DSS.

“There are many questions begging for answers by men of the DSS; one of them is why have they refused to arrest and interrogate the father of the missing boy, Mr. Kolawole, especially on how he came about the balance of sixteen million naira found in his account, and what happened to the money, thereafter? I promise you, we are going to unravel all these puzzles very soon.

“It beats my imagination that this kind of wanton killings of innocent souls, including a police sergeant on lawful duty, and setting ablaze the auditorium, several other buildings, cars and other properties belonging to Prophet Alfa Babatunde and Sotitobire Praising Centre, all because of the missing one year old boy; It’s only pointing to one fact that this is a hi-tech conspiracy against the man of God from several sources in politics, from higher temples of God, security agents and a section of the media.”

Oke, however, appealed to the people of the state to keep their peace and allow the law enforcement agents to conclude their investigations on the matter, adding that the outcome will surely take many by surprise, while the innocent or otherwise of the man of God would be proven beyond reasonable doubt.

Related posts

Four remanded over destruction of Sotitobire church

By Damisi Ojo, Akure

Another four young men have been remanded at Olokuta Correctional Service Centre by a Chief Magistrate Court sitting in Akure over alleged murder, arson, malicious damage and stealing at Sotitobire Church in Akure, the Ondo State capital.

They are: Yusuf Owa, 27, Adebayo Adeyemi, 22, Adeleye Omowumi, 28, and Adu Babatunde, 27.

The accused were fresh suspects to be remanded in prison as 14 persons were earlier remanded in connection with the crisis, making the total number of 18 suspects at Olokuta Correctional Service centre.

The accused persons are facing a six -count-charge of felony, conspiracy, murder, arson and stealing.

According to the charge sheet, they committed the offence on December 18, 2019 at about 9:45am at Sotitobire Church, Oshinle, Akure, in the Akure Magisterial District.

The alleged offences were said to be contrary to sections 383 and punishable under sections 324, 516,319(1), 443(a), 451 and 390(a).

The defendants were alleged to have killed one Sergeant Sheidu Ocheopo (m) by smashing him to death with tyre rim and stones at Sotitobire Church, Oshinle, while performing his lawful duty.

They were also accused of setting ablaze Sotitobire Church Oshinle and Ajipowo branches, including Police Hilux patrol vehicle, AK47 rifle with breach No, 4777 and some vehicles belonging to individuals valued at N2 millions.

Other items that were set ablaze, according to the charge were; Toyota Siena, Range rover Jeep, Toyota venza, Toyota Camry and Lexus car valued at N250 million, belonging to Alfa Babatunde Olumoyo.

Also some church items like rug, amplifier, fans, and other valuables in the church, valued at N600,000 were said to have been stolen.

READ ALSO: 13 remanded over attack on Sotitobire church

The Prosecuting Police Officer, Inspector Uloh Goodluck, informed the court of his intention to move a motion on notice for the remands of the defendants at Olokuta, Correctional Service Centre.

Counsel representing the first defendant, Mr. M.O Ojo, and counsel to third and fourth defendants, Mr. Afe Felix, opposed the moving of the motion, drew the attention of the court to the fact that the motion before it was just serve in the court, adding that they need some time to file their counter affidavit.

While the counsel representing the second defendant Mr. John Olowookere, did not oppose to the prosecutor moving his motion for remand.

The Magistrate, Mrs. Charity Adeyanju, ordered that the defendants be kept at Olokuta Correctional Service Centre, pending when the move of motion on notice for the remand of the defendants.

She adjourned the case till January 20, 2020.

The Sotitobire Church Founder, Alfa Babatunde is expected to appear in court on Thursday for the hearing of his case of alleged kidnapping of one year old boy, Gold Kolawole, who got missing in his church in November 2019.

Related posts

Church Accountant Bags 18 Years for N15.5m Fraud – PRNigeria News

person

Church Accountant Bags 18 Years for N15.5m Fraud

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Gombe Zonal Office on January 13, 2020, secured the conviction of one Ibrahim Aku before Justice Nathan Musa of the Adamawa State High Court.

Aku, an accountant at EYN Church of Christ (Ekilisiyar Yen Uwa Nigeria), EYN, Church of Brethren in Nigeria (CBN) in the state faced a six-count charge, bordering on forgery and obtaining money by false pretence.

He was investigated and prosecuted following a petition by the church through Rev. (Dr). Daniel Mbaya an Secretary General of the Church alleging that Aku defrauded the church of N15.5million between 2016 and 2018.

Investigations by the EFCC, revealed that the money was generated by the church members by offerings, donations and tithe.

The convict was entrusted by the church to deposit the church’s revenue into the church’s account with First Bank Plc and Zenith Bank Plc, but he ended up diverting same, and forged bank tellers to balance the financial books of the church.

He was assisted to commit the crime by his friend, one Benefit Ishaku currently at large to whom he gave N500,000. His accomplice assisted him in forging the stamps of the banks, which were also used to perpetrate the fraud.

He was prosecuted using the Advance Fee Fraud and other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006.

He pleaded “guilty” to the charges.

Prosecuting counsel, S.E. Okemini, thereafter, urged the court to convict him as charged.

Justice Musa, thus, pronounced him guilty and sentenced him to 18 years in prison – three years on each of the counts, to run concurrently. He was not given an option of fine.

The trial judge, further ordered that he refund the stolen fund to the church, and that proceeds of the crime recovered from him should be sold and the proceeds remitted to the Church.

Tony Orilade
Acting Head, Media & Publicity
……….

EFCC Nabs Internet Fraudsters in Ibadan

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC Ibadan zonal office, between January 11 and 12, 2020, arrested eight suspected internet fraudsters in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.
The suspects, who are between the ages of 17 and 30 years old, were arrested at different locations across the ancient city. They are Abdulrahman Qozeem, Umoru Ibrahim, Umoru Abdulahi Gregory, Famous Ose Itahma, Umoru Shaibu Pedro, Durrele Oyeniyi, Umoru Evidence and Judge Okoye.

Their arrest was sequel to series of intelligence report, alleging that they were involved in internet-related crimes.

Items recovered from them include six expensive cars, various brands of phones, laptops, international passports and several documents suspected to contain false pretences.
They will soon be arraigned in court.

Tony Orilade
Acting Head, Media & Publicity

Related posts

Son stabs father to death, lands in trouble in Lagos — Daily Times Nigeria

cell phone

A man identified as Nelson has been arraigned before the Lagos State High Court sitting in Ikeja for stabbing his father, Sunday Oamen, to death with a broken bottle.

Patience Oamen, a hairdresser, on Tuesday told the court how his brother stabbed their father.

The suspect is facing one count of murder contrary to Section 221 of the Criminal Law of Lagos, 2011, before Justice Hakeem Oshodi.

The Prosecutor, M. T. Adewoye, told the court that Nelson was 33-year-old when he committed the offence on September 18, 2015, at their residence, Block 272, Flat 4, Abesan Estate, Lagos State.

Patience while speaking in the court noted that though Nelson had a good relationship with their father the relationship went sour because their father denied Nelson money on Sunday.

The hairdresser further stated that his brother’s clothes had bloodstain on it on the day of the incident before he ran out of the house.

Patience said, “On the day of the incident, our mother, who sells foodstuffs, was downstairs with me and between noon and 1 p.m., while we were still downstairs, I saw my brother hurriedly coming downstairs with his clothes stained with blood. I called his name but he ran away.”

“The door to the house was locked and I was wondering how he opened the door. I took the keys, opened the door and saw a pool of blood and immediately ran downstairs to call our mother and we both ran upstairs to check on our father and noticed that he had been stabbed.

“He had been stabbed all over his stomach and neck with a broken bottle.”

“We reported the case to the police and three days later, Nelson came to the police station to confess that he stabbed our father to death.”

Patience further stated that Nelson smokes Indian hemp and had once stolen the prepaid meter in the house.

Patience, while being cross-examined by the defence counsel, E. B. Ogogo, reiterated that though she was not in the room when the incident happened, she knew that her brother committed the crime because his clothes were stained with blood.

She added, “I saw him that day but I forgot to put it down in my statement. I was not myself that day because of the shock; that was why I did not remember to write it in my statement.”

“My brother said our father’s spirit was haunting him and that was why he went to the police station to confess.”

The case was adjourned 

Related posts

MISSING BOY: Church deserted, family reveals how General Overseer lives in prison

person

AdeyanjuBy Dayo Johnson, Akure

ALL the branches of Sotitobire Miracle Centre across Ondo State have been deserted after the razing of its headquarters and the General Overseer, Prophet Babatunde Alfa, remanded at the Olokuta Correctional Centre, Akure after one-year-old Gold Kolawole went missing at the headquarters branch over a month ago.

Why plan to recompose NDDC board is against equity, justice — IGBINI

Uncertainty reigned over the church.

Reports said members may have been ‘defecting’ to other churches as the General Overseer spent Christmas and the New Year day in prison.

Many of the members with church stickers on their vehicles and bands on their wrists, it was learnt, have been removing them.

Irate youths had set the headquarters branch ablaze and went further to burn down the Ajipowo branch same day to show their displeasure over the missing boy’s case.

The development forced the police to deploy to the razed churches and the private residence of the clergyman after it was equally attacked and several vehicles damaged.

While the Department of State Service, DSS, which arrested Alfa, took the glory for doing something over the missing boy’s case, the police, which was accused of foot-dragging, arraigned 13 suspected arsonists in court in connection with the razed churches.

Prison walk

Then the DSS, in a surprise move, arraigned the clergyman in the Magistrate Court.

The court was jam-packed on arraignment day as members of the church trooped out to give their prophet moral support.

Police arraigns two FRSC personnel over alleged murder

Their hope that Alfa would be granted bail was, however, dashed.

Even the prophet, who was expecting that he would be released on bail, burst into tears as Magistrate Charity Adeyanju ordered that he be remanded in prison custody.

His church members also could not hold their tears as they wept profusely seeing their prophet being pushed into the Black Maria by prison wardens.

It was a pitiable sight as the church members and the clergyman wept like a baby.

While arraigning the General Overseer and six children teachers of Sotitobire Miracle Centre in court, the DSS accused them of conspiracy to kidnap and aiding kidnapping of Gold during a Sunday service at the headquarters of the church in Oshinle area of the state capital on November 10.

The six children teachers are Omodara Olayinka, Margaret Oyebola, Grace Ogunjobi, Egunjobi Motunrayo, Esther Kayode and Peter Anjorin.

Peter Anjorin was separately accused by the prosecutor of destroying evidence by secretly taking away evidence that would have aided speedy investigation of the missing child.

The charge against anjorin read, “That on the 10th day of December 2019 at about 2:00 pm at the premises of the Department of State Service, Alagbaka, Akure, Ondo State in the Akure Magisterial District, you did destroy evidence by secretly taking away vital evidence that would have aided speedy investigation in respect of the missing child (Gold Eninlaloluwa Kolawole) and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 123 of Criminal Code, Cap 37, Vol. I Laws of Ondo State 2006.”

The accused persons were brought to the court by operatives of the DSS around 9am in a white bus marked AKR – 54-AM.

The prosecutor, Joseph Dada, said the offence was contrary to and punishable under Section 5(i) of the Ondo State Anti-Kidnapping and Anti-Abduction Law, 2010 as well as under Section 516 of Criminal Code, Cap 37, Volume I Laws of Ondo State 2006.

The charge sheet for all the suspects read, “That you Prophet Alfa Babatunde ’m’, Omodara Olayinka ’f’, Margaret Oyebola ‘f’, Grace Ogunjobi ‘f’, Egunjobi Motunrayo ’f’, Esther Kayode ’f’, Peter Anjorin ‘m’ and others now at large, on the 10th day of November 2019 at about 11:45 am at Sotitobire Praising Chapel, No. 48, Solagbade Street, Oshinle Quarters, Akure, Ondo State in the Akure Magisterial District, did conspire together to commit felony to wit: Kidnapping, and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 516 of Criminal Code, Cap 37, Vol. I Laws of Ondo State 2006″.

Trial Magistrate Adeyanju, after listening to the arguments of the prosecutor and counsel to the defendants, Olusola Oke, ruled that she did not have the jurisdiction to try the alleged offences.

She then said that the accused persons be remanded in prison custody pending the conclusion of investigation and arraignment at the High Court and adjourned the case till January 17, 2020.

Recall that the mother of the missing boy, Modupe Kolawole, had taken him to the church while looking for miracle but ended up losing him to suspected kidnappers.

Modupe said she dropped the son at the church children section only to come back to discover that he had disappeared without trace since November 10.

Speaking after the court session, Oke said, “The prosecution presented two contradictory positions. There was an application filed where they alleged that the General Overseer confessed to the allegation of kidnapping.

“We challenged them to present the evidence of his confession but they did not bring something like that to court.

“Also, contrary to what we heard in the public domain about kidnapping, they were charged with conspiracy and aiding kidnapping. These are two different situations because if he actually kidnapped, it would be brought to the public that he kidnapped but apparently they have nothing against him.

“We believe that if the man indeed is culpable, he should be punished. But at the same time, there is no need to crucify somebody who has done no wrong.”

Also, 13 suspected persons were ordered to be remanded at the Olokuta Correctional Center by an Akure Magistrate’s Court for their alleged involvement in the killing of a policeman and the razing of Sotitobire Miracle Centre.

They were arraigned on six count charges of murder, arson, theft and vandalism.

The prosecutor, ASP Moses Adeosun, prayed that the defendants be remanded in prison pending investigation into the matter.

Ooni intervention

In a related development, the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, and his Olori, Naomi, are reported to have waded into the case of the missing boy.

The mother of the boy confirmed this to Sunday Vanguard.

“It is true that the Kabiyesi, the Ooni of Ife, and the wife invited us to the palace in lfe”, Modupe Kolawole said.

“We briefed the Kabiyesi and the Olori on how the incident happened over a month ago. “They sympathized with us and promised to get back to us”.

Hunger strike

Meanwhile, family sources said the embattled clergyman has turned the Olokuta Correctional Centre to a crusade ground and reportedly winning souls for Christ in the prison.

The sources said Alfa organised programmes for the prison inmates during Christmas and New Year day, thereby leading many of them to Christ.

Police promote 19 Officers in Ondo

They denied a report that the prophet took ill following alleged hunger strike.

The post MISSING BOY: Church deserted, family reveals how General Overseer lives in prison appeared first on Vanguard News.

Related posts

Missing Boy: Court remands 13 suspects over burning of church in Ondo

The Magistrate Court sitting in Akure, Ondo State capital, has ordered the remand of 13 people to Olokuta Correctional Center, over their alleged involvement in the killing of a policeman and setting ablaze of Sotitobire Miracle Centre.

The accused who were dragged before Magistrate Charity Adeyanju, on a six-count charge bothering on murder, arson, theft, and vandalism.

The Police Prosecutor, ASP Moses Adeosun, prayed the court to remand the accused at the Olokuta Correctional Centre pending the ongoing investigation into the matter.

Reading the charge sheet read in part, he said “that you Udeme Eyo ‘m’, Ikechukwu Njoku ‘m’, Ayodimeji Jimoh ‘m’, Bamisaye Ojo ‘m’, Balogun Ayomide ‘m’, ‘Steve Adekunle ‘m’, Agbi Sesan ‘m’, Stephen Omotosho ‘m’, Omogbolahan James ‘m’, Ademola Aderibigbe ‘m’, Oluwadare Rotimi, ‘m’, Ayo Ifedayo ‘m’, Samuel Shitu and others at large, on 18/12/2019, at about 9.45 am, Sotitobire church, Oshinle, Akure, in the Ondo State Magisterial District, did conspire together to commit felony to wit: murder, arson, malicious damage and stealing and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under section 324 & 516 of the Criminal Code, Cap 37, Vol.1, LAWS of Ondo State of Nigeria 2006 respectively.

“That you Udeme Eyo ‘m’, Ikechukwu Njoku ‘m’, Ayo Dimeji Jiomoh ‘m’, Bamisaye Samson Ojo ‘m’, Balogun Ayorinde ‘m’, Steve Adekunle ‘m’, Agbi Sesan ‘m’, Stephen Omotosho ‘m’, Omogbolahan James ‘m’, Ademola Aderibigbe ‘m’, Oluwadare Rotimi ‘m’, Ayo Ifedayo ‘m’, Samuel Shitu and others at large, on same date, time committed the offence In the aforementioned Magisterial District, did unlawfully kill Sgt Sheidu by smashing him to death with tyre ream and stones at Sotitobire church, Oshile, Akure while performing his lawful duty and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under section 319(1) of Criminal Code, Cap 37, Vol.1 Laws of Ondo State of Nigeria 2006.”

However, the Counsel to the defendants objected to the prayer of the prosecutor counsel, arguing on the need for his clients to be granted bail.

He told the court that the prosecution had a lot of defects and said that “In order for them to put their house in order, they had to come back another day with the application to remand them as the Magistrate Court lacks jurisdiction to prosecute the offences charged.

Following the arguments of the prosecutor and the Defence Counsel, the defendants were subsequently remanded with the trial adjourned till January 3, 2020.

It will be recalled that on some angry youths attacked the church which belongs to Prophet Alfa Babatunde who was alleged of being behind the mysterious disappearance of a one-year-old baby, Gold Kolawole.

The enraged youth during the attack burnt down the church as well as the vehicles of church members after which they proceeded to the Prophet’s residence where they allegedly looted valuables.

Related posts

13 remanded over attack on Sotitobire church

By Damisi Ojo, Akure

Thirteen persons were on Tuesday remanded at the Olokuta Correctional Centre by an Akure Magistrates’ Court for their alleged involvement in the killing of a policeman as well as the razing of Sotitobire Miracle Centre.

The accused persons who appeared before Magistrate Charity Adeyanju were arraigned on six-count charges bothering on murder, arson, theft and vandalism.

On December 18, some angry youths attacked the church which belongs to Prophet Alfa Babatunde who was alleged of being behind the mysterious disappearance of a one-year-old baby, Gold Kolawole.

The enraged youths, during the attack, burnt down the church as well as the vehicles of members after which they proceeded to the Prophet’s residence where they allegedly looted valuables.

Addressing the court, the Police Prosecutor, ASP Moses Adeosun prayed that the defendants be remanded at the Olokuta Correctional Centre pending the ongoing investigation into the matter.

The charge sheet reads: “That you Udeme Eyo ‘m’, Ikechukwu Njoku ‘m’, Ayodimeji Jimoh ‘m’, Bamisaye Ojo ‘m’, Balogun Ayomide ‘m’, ‘Steve Adekunle ‘m’, Agbi Sesan ‘m’, Stephen Omotosho ‘m’, Omogbolahan James ‘m’, Ademola Aderibigbe ‘m’, Oluwadare Rotimi, ‘m’, Ayo Ifedayo ‘m’, Samuel Shitu and others at large, on 18/12/2019, at about 9.45 am, Sotitobire church, Oshinle, Akure, in the Ondo State Magisterial District, did conspire together to commit felony to wit: murder, arson, malicious damage and stealing and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under section 324 & 516 of the Criminal Code, Cap 37, Vol.1, LAWS of Ondo State of Nigeria 2006 respectively.

Read Also; Ondo cleric remanded over missing baby

“That you Udeme Eyo ‘m’, Ikechukwu Njoku ‘m’, Ayo dimeji Jiomoh ‘m’, Bamisaye Samson Ojo ‘m’, Balogun Ayorinde ‘m’, Steve Adekunle ‘m’, Agbi Sesan ‘m’, Stephen Omotosho ‘m’, Omogbolahan James ‘m’, Ademola Aderibigbe ‘m’, Oluwadare Rotimi ‘m’, Ayo Ifedayo ‘m’, Samuel Shitu and others at large, on same date, time committed the offence In the aforementioned Magisterial District, did unlawfully kill Sgt Sheidu by smashing him to death with tyre ream and stones at Sotitobire church, Oshinle, Akure while performing his lawful duty and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under section 319(1) of Criminal Code, Cap 37, Vol.1 Laws of Ondo State of Nigeria 2006.”

Following the arguments of the prosecutor and the Defence Counsel, the defendants were subsequently remanded with the trial adjourned till January 3, 2020.

The Counsel to the Defendants, Femi Saliu, who had argued on the need for his clients to be granted bail, told reporters after the court sitting that the prosecution had a lot of defects.

He stressed: “In order for them to put their house in order, they had to come back another day with the application to remand them as the Magistrate Court lacks jurisdiction to prosecute the offences charged. I think for their own safety, looking at the circumstances, they were remanded in prison custody.”

Related posts

Ondo State: Police Arrests Ten People For Looting Sotitobire Church

person

No less than ten people have been arrested by the Ondo State Police Command on Thursday for looting the property of the Sotitobire Praising Chapel, in Akure.

The Ondo State police command stated that the people that were arrested was because they stole from the church during the violence which took place on Wednesday.

Recall that some aggrieved youths in the state capital stormed the church over the disappearance of a one-year-old boy, Gold Kolawole, from the church during a Sunday service last month.

The youth set the church on fire over reports that the dead body of the missing child was exhumed from the church’s altar.

The incident saw two people lose their lives, including a policeman, whose identity has yet to be revealed. The spokesperson of the Ondo State police command, Femi Joseph, revealed that ten people have been arrested in connection with the incident.

He said, “We have arrested 10 persons. While the violent crisis was going on, they were busy looting the property of the church. We even recovered some of the church’s property from them.”

“Some of them were using vehicles to take the items away when we caught them. We will arrest more of those looters.”

However, the founder of the Sotitobire Praising Chapel, Akure, Alfa Babatunde, has filed a suit against the Department of State Services before the Federal High Court sitting in Akure over his arrest and detention by the security agency.

The cleric in a suit filed by his counsel, Yemi Omoware, sought the order of the court to effect his release from the detention of DSS.

The applicant said his arrest and detention by the DSS were an abuse of the legal process and violation of his fundamental right to freedom of movement.

The respondents in the suit are the DSS, the Director-General of the DSS in Ondo State, Mr. Emmanuel Anaobi, Mr. Isaac Babalola, and Mr. Remi Oluwalogbon.

Babatunde’s lawyer is seeking an order “directing/compelling the release of the applicant unconditionally from the custody of the respondents.”

The suit is also seeking an order “enforcing the fundamental rights of the applicant to liberty and dignity of the human person, which rights were violated by the respondents.”

The applicant also sought an order restraining the respondents, their agents, servants, subordinates and or any person(s) taking instructions from them whatsoever/whosoever from engaging in any further acts of arrest, detention, and violation of his right to liberty and or dignity of the human person.

The pastor filed a #100m aggravated damages against DSS over the violation of his fundamental human rights.

Related posts