Rape: Accuser seeks withdrawal of case against hotelier’s son, friend

Babcock University dropouts accused of rape

A woman who accused two men of drugging and gang-raping her has requested that the criminal suit filed against the defendants be withdrawn.

Her request for withdrawal, dated June 3, 2019, was read at an Ikeja Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Court on Thursday.

The unnamed woman had accused son of the owner of the De Lankaster Hotel & Suites, Don-Chime George, and his friend, Rasaq Oke, both dropouts of Babcock University, of spiking her drink at a nightclub.

She said she was subsequently taken to the hotel located in Lekki, Lagos and raped for two hours with the incident recorded on video.

In a letter read in court by Justice Abiola Soladoye, the 24-year-old attributed her decision to withdraw the case to “intervention of family members” and for the sake of her integrity.

Deputy-director in the Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP) and lead state prosecutor, Akin George, however, opposed the request, noting that complainant was in court for the continuation of her cross-examination by the defence.

“We do not have a directive from the office of the attorney-general (AG).

“My lord, the honourable AG is the complainant in this case.

“In every criminal matter, victims are naturally witnesses and as we speak, there is no AG in office due to the change in power.

“We are also aware of the rules of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law (ACJL) which states that even the Court of Appeal cannot stay an on-going proceeding.

“Our office initiated this action in court and there has to be a closure one way or the other.

“My lord, we have submitted issues for the respective decisions of this court.

“We will bring the witness to state her position before the court, while we continue proceedings and await directives from the AG’s office,” Mr George said.

Responding, defence counsel, Tunji Ayanlaja (SAN), said while he shared the views of the prosecution that Lagos State originated the criminal suit, he disagreed that the absence of the AG had created a vacuum.

He also sought the release of the defendants from prison.

“The constitution is so clear that when we do not have an AG in office, the Solicitor-General takes over the function of the AG. My lord, we are ready to proceed.

“The unfortunate thing is that the defendants have been in prison ever since. The complainant, who is their (prosecution) witness, has developed cold feet for one reason or the other; this development is replete in the letter by the complainant.

“To meet the end of justice, I apply that your lordship should consider releasing the defendants on bail.

“At the end of the day, no compensation will be paid to them. They are young men who have languished in jail for four or five months,” Mr Ayanlaja said.

After listening to the submissions of the prosecution and defence, Justice Soladoye said that the court would continue with proceedings, and that bail would not be granted to the defendants because the court had already delivered a ruling denying them bail.

“However, so that these proceedings will not be an exercise in futility, a short adjournment will be taken, pending directives from the office of the AG,” she said.

The case was adjourned to June 18 for continuation of trial.