Nollywood Actor Baba Ijesha’s Conviction Upheld by Court of Appeal for Sexual Assault of Minor

The case centered on charges of indecent touching and sexual assault of a 14-year-old minor, with Justice Ojo highlighting the credible testimony of the prosecution's witness (PW1), Damilola Adekoya

In a significant legal decision, the Lagos Division of the Court of Appeal has affirmed the conviction of Nollywood actor Olanrewaju James, popularly known as Baba Ijesha, for the sexual assault of a minor.

The ruling, delivered by Justice Folashade Ojo, upheld the earlier verdict by the Lagos State High Court, sentencing Baba Ijesha to five years in prison.

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The case centered on charges of indecent touching and sexual assault of a 14-year-old minor, with Justice Ojo highlighting the credible testimony of the prosecution’s witness (PW1), Damilola Adekoya.

While overturning the conviction for indecent treatment due to hearsay concerns regarding Adekoya’s testimony, Justice Ojo emphasized the reliability of eyewitness accounts in criminal proceedings.

The court underscored that Baba Ijesha had confessed voluntarily to the crimes during police interrogations, providing statements that were admitted as evidence.

These confessions corroborated the prosecution’s case that Baba Ijesha indecently touched and molested the minor while in Adekoya’s apartment on April 19, 2021.

“In assessing the evidence presented, including the victim’s testimony supported by documentary evidence, it is evident that Baba Ijesha’s actions were not a theatrical performance but a deliberate commission of the offense,” stated Justice Ojo in her judgment.

The court further emphasized the importance of factual findings by trial courts, which are uniquely positioned to evaluate witness credibility based on firsthand observations during proceedings.

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This affirmation underscores the legal principle that admissions of guilt carry substantial weight in proving the commission of criminal acts. Reacting to the judgment, legal experts noted the precedent-setting nature of the case, particularly in reaffirming the judiciary’s commitment to protecting minors from sexual exploitation.

The decision also serves as a reminder of the stringent penalties for such offenses under Nigerian law, aiming to deter similar crimes and uphold justice for victims.

Throughout the legal process, Baba Ijesha’s defense had argued that his actions were part of a scripted performance, an assertion dismissed by the courts based on the evidence presented.

The verdict has elicited varied reactions from the public and the entertainment industry, with many expressing support for the judiciary’s stance on safeguarding minors.

Advocacy groups have commended the victim for her bravery in coming forward and participating in the legal proceedings, highlighting the importance of supporting victims of sexual violence through legal avenues.

As Baba Ijesha prepares to serve his sentence, the case continues to resonate as a pivotal moment in Nigeria’s legal landscape, reinforcing the accountability of public figures and the imperative of upholding child protection laws.

The judgment marks a decisive step in a complex legal saga, offering closure to the victim and setting a precedent for future cases involving similar offenses.

 

This article was created using automation technology and was thoroughly edited and fact-checked by one of our editorial staff members

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