Baba Ijesha Opens Defence on Alleged Defilement

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The first defence witness in the trial of Nollywood actor Olanrewaju James alias Baba Ijesha, charged with defilement, on Thursday, claimed that portions of the Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) footage on the allegation, were edited.

The witness, Mr. Lawrence Ayeni, also testified before an Ikeja Special Offences Court that the actor and the minor he allegedly defiled were both acting out a script in the footage.

Ayeni, a graduate of Mechanical Engineering, said that he was experienced in video production and CCTV installation and maintenance.

Led in evidence by Co-lead defence counsel, Mr. Babatunde Ogala (SAN), the witness told the court that one of the CCTV recordings of the alleged encounter had been tampered with at the point of editing.

During his testimony, four videos were played on a projector in the courtroom.

One of the videos showed the defendant and the 14-year-old in the home of her foster mother, comedienne Damilola Adekoya alias Princess.

The CCTV footage was recorded in April 2021 shortly before the defendant’s arrest.

In the footage, the defendant and the minor were sitting on a couch for a while, then they walked out of view.

When they returned, the defendant offered her a cup to drink from, kissed her hand and drew her close to him. They were speaking but their voices could not be heard.

The witness said: “The CCTV has no audio because it was a fibre camera that was used.

The voices you heard are of the persons who recorded the encounter, directing the script, and later edited the recording.

Baba Ijesha is acting what the director asked him to. The girl often looks at the camera so she was acting out what she was told to.

At the point of copying the content into a computer, errors could have been inputed or it got tampered with.”

The other videos showed the defendant pleading for forgiveness from Princess when she accosted him.

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Another footage showed his arrest.

The final footage showed his statement being taken while he was in police custody.

Under cross-examination by the Lagos State Director of Public Prosecutions, Dr. Babajide Martins, the witness admitted that CCTV footage could not be manipulated at the time of recording.

Ayeni submitted that speculations of tampering with the recording or using various devices to record could not change the contents or what was said in the footage.

The defendant faces a six-count charge bordering on indecent treatment of a child, sexual assault, attempted sexual assault by penetration and sexual assault by penetration.

Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo adjourned proceedings until March 4 for continuation of defence. (NAN)

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