Lagos - The absence of a defence counsel on Thursday stalled the continuation of trial of a 50-year-old farmer, Yesiru Onajobi, charged with incest at a Federal High Court in Lagos.
The accused, a resident of Bogije Street, Ibeju-Lekki, Lagos, is being tried for a two-count charge bordering on unlawful carnal knowledge of his 14-year-old daughter.
The farmer is being prosecuted by The National Agency for the Prohibition of Traffic in Persons (NAPTIP).
At the resumed hearing of the case on Thursday, Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke adjourned the case to Friday (October 10) following the absence of the defence counsel, Austin Akpomretha.
The accused, who was first arraigned before Justice Barbara Molokwu, was re-arraigned on July 8, 2013 before Justice Aneke, following Molokwu’s transfer.
Although the accused pleaded not guilty to the charge, Aneke ordered his remand at Ikoyi Prisons pending the hearing of his bail application.
Earlier, the prosecutor, Kehinde Falade, told the court that the accused committed the offences in 2010.
She said following the death of his wife, the accused allegedly started assaulting his only daughter sexually.
She alleged that the accused intimidated and forcefully had a carnal knowledge of the teenager, who eventually became pregnant for him.
She said the offences contravened the provisions of Sections 13 (1) and 18 (a) of the Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Law Enforcement and Administration Act, 2003.
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NAN also reports that at the last adjournment, the defence counsel, Akpomretha, had argued that the prosecution had no authority to press the charges against the accused.
He said NAPTIP ought to have obtained the fiat of the Attorney-General of the Federation before prosecuting the offender.
He, therefore, objected to the jurisdiction of the court to hear and determine the charges brought against the accused.
But the prosecutor in her response urged the court to dismiss the submissions of the counsel for lack of merit.
Aneke, however, overruled the submissions of the defence as baseless.
The judge held that the court had jurisdiction to entertain the case and adjourned trial to October 9.