Court Discharges Lagos Lawyer Of Forgery Charge

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 A Tinubu Magistrate Court in Lagos State has struck out a case of forgery filed against a Lagos lawyer, Barrister Kola Shodiya.

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The order of the court was as a result of an application filed before the court, seeking the order of the court to quash the charge TB/26/2021 preferred against him as there is nothing in the proofs evidence linking him to the charge sheet.

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Kola Shodiya is a legal practitioner engaged by the beneficiaries of the estate of one late Joseph Gbolade Odusina, sometimes in 2019, to recover their late father’s property duly registered in the Lagos State Land Registry as 1 Banjoko  Street, Harmony Estate, Ifako-Gbagada, Lagos unlawfully demolished, divided and sold to one Mr Osinowo and one Alhaji Mohammed.

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Thereupon, Mr Shodiya wrote a letter to the purported buyers of the property based on the following information one of the beneficiaries gave him:

That late Joseph Gbolade Odusina was the actual and beneficial owner of the land in issue which he had duly purchased in1977, fenced round and obtained a building approval but could not complete construction and had to put some tenants at will on the property before his demise in year 2000.

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However, sometimes in 2016, one Mr Akinola Oloruntoba threatened to take over the property and wrote a petition to the Police Special Fraud Unit, consequent to which one Mr Olatunji Odusina, one of the beneficiaries of late Joseph Odusina, was invited and later discharged upon presentation and verification of the title document.

On these notes a petition was written to the Nigerian Police and upon conclusion of police investigation Mr. Akinola Oloruntoba was charged to court for malicious damage. Subsequently, the Director of Public Prosecutions, Lagos State Ministry of Justice issued legal advice declaring the dispute between the parties as a civil dispute bordering on land transaction and ownership of land, hence parties should seek redress in civil court.

Pursuant to the said legal advice, Miss Mary Bukola Osinowo filed a civil suit still pending before Justice Emeya and in a subsisting order the court ruled that status quo be maintained with the beneficiaries of late Gbolagade Odusina and their lawyer retaining possession.

Irrespective of the pending civil suit Mr. Akinola Oloruntoba stealthily instigated a third party, one Oke Fadare, to petition the Nigerian Police making criminal allegations against Mr. Shodiya, where upon he was arraigned before the court.

Nothing in the proofs of evidence linked him anyhow with the allegation of forgery, as he properly obtained the documents in question from the relevant authorities and by due process, but that the team of Investigating Police Officers in charge did not investigate or verify this crucial point.

In conclusion, Mr. Shodiya accused the entire team of Police Zone 2 Command and the prosecution of premeditated malicious bias, unscrupulous machination and a gang-up to disparage his personal and professional reputation. Consequently, he urged the court to quash the charge

However, in contrast, the prosecution denied that the charge was indirectly instigated by Mr. Akinola but rather on the petition of one Mr. Oke and that the Police acted fairly and diligently in all consideration and respect without bias.

In his ruling, the presiding Chief Magistrate, Mr. Adedamola Albert Paul,

declared: “I have carefully examined each and every exhibit relatively attached by both parties, particularly the barrage and cross-fire of acrimonious letters and venomous petition to the Police by or at the respective instance of the belligerent principal parties and some of their equally partisan associates.

“On that note and pending the final determination of the rightful title and ownership in the ongoing civil litigation in the High Court, I hereby tactically decline jurisdiction to try the defendant on respect of any of the counts herein.

“Consequently, the entire charge TB/26/2021 is hereby struck out and the defendant discharge accordingly.”

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