Court Withholds Decision on Baba Ijesha's Appeal

The Court of Appeal, Lagos Division, has decided to withhold its judgment in the appeal filed by Nollywood actor Olanrewaju James, popularly known as Baba Ijesha, challenging his conviction by a Lagos State High Court. Baba Ijesha was convicted on July 14, 2022, for the sexual assault of a minor, and was sentenced to five years in prison by Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo (retd.) of the Ikeja Domestic Violence and Sexual Offences Court.

During the hearing on Tuesday, a three-man panel of the appellate court, led by Justice Folasade Ojo, listened to Baba Ijesha’s appeal against his conviction and decided to reserve judgment to a later date, which will be communicated to the parties involved. The other members of the panel are Justice Abdullahi Bayero and Justice Paul Bassi.

In his appeal marked CA/LAG/CR/544/23, Baba Ijesha’s counsel, Mr. Kayode Olabiran, argued that the prosecution failed to prove that Baba Ijesha sexually assaulted the victim. Olabiran claimed that Baba Ijesha was set up and that the incident was part of an acting script directed by his colleague Damilola Adekoya. He emphasized that Baba Ijesha’s confession was made under duress, urging the court to overturn the lower court’s judgment.

However, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Dr. Babajide Martins, countered Olabiran’s arguments, urging the court to dismiss the appeal for lacking merit. Martins defended the lower court’s judgment, emphasizing that the victim’s age was established during the trial. He stressed that the victim’s testimony indicated she was a minor at the time of the offense, and urged the court to affirm Baba Ijesha’s conviction for indecent treatment of a child and sexual assault.

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