The trial of Lagos BRT driver Andrew Ominicolon continued on Monday over the murder of a fashion designer Oluwabamis Ayanwal.

Police witness Goddy Ihende was cross-examined by defence lawyer Abayomi Omotubora at the Lagos State High Court at Tafawa Balewa Square.

Ihende told Judge Sherifat Sonaike that the case was initially reported as a kidnapping.

Ominnikoron faces five counts, including rape, conspiracy, felony, sexual assault and murder.

Prosecutors told the court that on February 26, 2022, around 7pm, Ominnikoron conspired with others who are now at large to rape and murder passenger Ayanwole, 22, between the Lekki Ajah Highway and Carter Bridge.

The 47-year-old defendant pleaded not guilty to the charges.

In the trial, which resumed on Monday, witnesses said he and his boss, ASP Razak Oseni, took over the case from the Department of State Services after a passerby reported it to the Ebtro police station.

He said: “After Ebtro’s police found the body, they took the body to the morgue and we reopened the investigation. As of Ebtro’s report, the accused was not in the picture, so the case I was investigating was murder.”

Earlier, Omotubora had asked the court to hold the trial during the trial, as he pointed out that the defendant’s statement was not voluntarily accepted.

“We’re saying that statements from the accused were obtained through torture, oppression and undue influence,” he said.

However, state prosecutor MA Olateju said: “There is no place for the defendant to admit any charges in court. What’s more, the defendant will have the opportunity to state his case when the defendant’s lawyer has the opportunity to cross-examine witnesses. I urge the court to allow the defendant cross-examination.”

Judge Sonak ruled on the application, denying the trial during the trial.

She said: “I have read the defendant’s confession many times, the content of which is not a confession in nature, and the portion quoted does not support the charge. Trial-in-trial is hereby denied.”

All of the defendant’s statements were admitted as evidence, and the case was adjourned to December 5 to continue the trial.

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