Alleged car theft: Court gives Naira Marley ‘last chance’ to appear
NEWS DIGEST – A Tinubu Chief Magistrates’ Court in Lagos on Tuesday gave a musician, Adeyemi Fashola, popularly known as Naira Marley till January 14, 2020 to appear in court for arraignment for alleged car theft.
Mr Tajudeen Elias warned Marley that if he failed to show up, a bench warrant would be issued for his arrest.
The Chief Magistrate made the order in the trial of Marley’s two brothers Idris Fashola, 18; Babatunde Fashola, 24; and their cousin, Kunle Obere, 22.
The defendants are facing a four-count charge of conspiracy, stealing, assault and obstructing the police from arresting Marley.
They were arraigned on December 16, but Marley, the fourth defendant, was absent.
The court granted the trio N500,000 bail each with two sureties in the like sum
Mr Elias ordered the Investigative Police Officer (IPO) to produce Marley in court on Tuesday for further hearing.
But at the commencement of Tuesday’s proceedings, only the three other defendants entered the dock.
The court declined to let the trial begin.
“I made an order that Azeez Fashola should be in court today,” Chief Magistrate Elias said to Marley’s counsel, Mr Awokulehin Ayodeji.
“Where is he?”
Responding, Awokulehin said Marley was abroad.
“He is not even in the country as we speak. It is because of the Christmas break,” he said.
But the court rejected the excuse.
Mr Elias said: “He was aware the case is coming up today, so, why will he travel?”
Turning to the Registrar, he said: “Bring the warrant of arrest.”
The Nation reports that Marley is said to have held his widely publicised year-end concert tagged ‘Marlian Fest’ on Monday, December 30, at the Eko Convention Centre, Eko Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos.
But Awokulehin pleaded for more time to present Marley. He pledged that the defendant would be available at the next adjourned date.
Awokulehin said: “Your honour, I can assure you that a warrant of arrest won’t be needed. The sole reason my client is not here today is really because of the yuletide season, he will be here at the next adjourned date.”
Accepting his prayer, Mr Elias declined to proceed with the arrest warrant.
He said: ” I order that Azeez Fashola be produced forthwith. Case adjourned till 14/1/2020.”
At the arraignment on December 16, an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Edet Okoi told the court that the three defendants committed the offence on December 15, at Eko Hotel Roundabout, Victoria Island, Lagos.
Okoi alleged that the trio, while in a motorcade with Marley, stole a Toyota Camry vehicle with Registration No.
FEE 120 AA valued at N1.8 million and an IPhone X5 worth N330,000 belonging to one Mr Adelekan Ademola.
The court heard that the three defendants and others at large assaulted the complainant by beating him up.
Okoi alleged that the second defendant, Babatunde Fashola and others at large obstructed the police while performing their lawful duty and prevented them from arresting Naira Marley.
He said: “One of the vehicles in the musician’s motorcade hit the complainant’s vehicle from the back while he was throwing out money from his vehicle to his fans.
”When the complainant came down from the vehicle to inspect the damage, Obere entered the complainant’s Camry and drove it off with the motorcade. Ademola reported to the police and the vehicle was tracked to where it was parked at Jakande Crescent, Oniru in Lagos.
“When the police arrived at the location in company of the complainant, Naira Marley and his boys started beating the complainant.
“A group of boys obstructed the police from arresting the musician but they were able to apprehend the three defendants.”
He said the offences contravened Sections 112,172, 287 and 411 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015