Seun Kuti’s Trial Date Set for July 3: Legal Battle Continues
In a significant ruling today at the Yaba Magistrate’s Court, Mrs. Adeola Olatunbosun declared that the police cannot assume the roles of both complainant and prosecutor in a case. The courtroom was filled to capacity as the police prosecution team sought to arraign and prosecute the embattled Afrobeat musician, Seun Kuti.Led by Morufu Animashaun, the police prosecution team applied to vacate the remand application presented on May 16 and properly arraign the defendant to focus on his prosecution.However, Seun Kuti’s legal team, headed by Femi Falana, SAN, did not oppose the vacation of the remand application, pointing out that it had already expired. However, they strongly objected to the police’s intention to arraign and prosecute Kuti.The musician’s defense team argued that the police had violated the court order issued on May 16, which instructed them to duplicate the case file and submit it to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) within 72 hours. They urged the court to allow the DPP to handle the prosecution to ensure impartiality.The police had previously convinced the court to grant them the authority to prosecute Kuti, citing Section 23 of the Police Act, which empowers them not only to arrest but also to prosecute suspects.Magistrate Olatunbosun, in her ruling, emphasized that the police cannot act as both the complainant and the prosecutor simultaneously. She stated, “I need the advice of the DPP to determine whether he should be prosecuted or not.”Consequently, the case has been adjourned until July 3, 2023, awaiting the DPP’s advice.It should be noted that on May 16, the police had presented a remand application requesting that Seun Kuti be held in police custody for 21 days while they concluded their investigation. However, Magistrate Olatunbosun dismissed their request and granted bail to the defendant, stipulating a 48-hour remand period.Additionally, she ordered the duplication of the case file and its submission to the DPP for legal guidance within 72 hours, setting the next court date for May 23.After the expiration of the initial 48-hour remand period, the police approached the court seeking an extension of four more days to conclude their investigation. The court granted their request, allowing them to retain the defendant.Regrettably, the magistrate was absent from the court on Tuesday, resulting in the trial’s postponement. Seun Kuti was eventually released on bail late Tuesday night after fulfilling the bail conditions, and the trial was rescheduled for Wednesday by the registrar.