A commercial motorcyclist and a bus conductor are to spend the next 12 years in prison for snatching a woman’s handbag containing undisclosed sums of money, an Ikeja High Court ruled on Thursday. The duo of Abiodun Taiye, 26, and Rasheed Babalola, 27, had pleaded guilty to the charge.
Justice Raliatu Adebiyi noted that the young men, who did not have criminal record before the court, did not waste the time of the court as they pleaded guilty. She ordered that the number of years the accused had spent in custody should be subtracted from the six-years given them. “The defendants having plead guilty to the one-count charge of stealing, contrary to Section 278 (1)(a) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State 2011, are each sentenced to six years imprisonment. “Their period of remand shall be discounted in computing the sentence,” Adebiyi said.
Journalists report that the accused were first arraigned on March 4, 2015, on a two-count charge of conspiracy to commit robbery and robbery which they denied. They, however, entered into a plea bargain with the prosecution and were re-arraigned on Feb. 9 on an amended charge of stealing. They plead guilty to the amended charge. During the proceedings before the sentence was pronounced, Counsel to the accused, Miss Y.A. Ajayi, while appealing for leniency, recalled that the men had been in custody since 2011. “My Lord, the defendants have been in prison custody since Dec. 2011 which is over five years ago, the items that were stolen were recovered and returned to the owner. Please temper justice with mercy,” she said. Newsmen also reports that during the trial, the state prosecutor, Mrs O.A. Olugasa told the court that Taiye and Babalola of No. 14, Etu-epo St., Abule Egba, Lagos, committed the offence on Nov. 13, 2011 at 8.00 p.m. along WAEC Road, Yaba, Lagos. “The defendants while on a commercial motorcycle robbed Miss Funmi Dayo of her handbag which contained undisclosed sums of money, a mobile phone and other personal effects. “The woman raised an alarm which led to the arrest of Taiye. He was about to be lynched by a mob but was saved by some policemen from Sabo Police Station. “He led the police to fish out Babalola, his accomplice,” she said.