Udeme Otike-Odibi, the female lawyer who was charged with killing her husband and cutting his manhood, yesterday asked a Lagos High Court in Igbosere to reject the confessional statement she made to the police after the incident.
She told Justice Adedayo Akintoye that the statement was inadmissible because it was neither taken in her lawyer’s presence nor video recorded as, according to her, required by law.
On January 23, a prosecution witness, Mr. Olusegun Bamidele, told the court that Udeme, 48, hit Symphorosa on the head with a frying pan several times before stabbing him in the stomach with a kitchen knife.
Bamidele said Udeme, still furious, sat beside her husband’s body on the bed and said: “‘If this your manhood is the one that is giving you licence not to have the feeling of another person, it’s better we cut it off.”
She then allegedly cut off the manhood before putting a piece of it in his right hand.
The judge adjourned till yesterday for a trial within trial to determine the admissibility of the defendant’s confessional statements.
At the resumed hearing, Udeme’s counsel, Mr. Oluseye Banjoko, brought an application asking the court not to conduct the trial within trial.
Banjoko argued that the Constitution required that the statement of any person arrested must be made in the presence of a lawyer or must be videoed.
He said Section 93 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law (ACJL) of Lagos State 2015 also made it mandatory that to achieve transparency in statements taken, the above law (Constitution) must be followed.
“Why the law was made was so that we do not waste the time of the court in going into trial within trial to determine admissibility of the said statement.
“Our application is for an order rejecting the alleged confessional statement since the provisions of the law was not followed,” Banjoko said.
But prosecuting counsel Titilayo Shitta-Bey opposed him.
Shitta-Bey, the Lagos State Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), argued that the Constitution stated that the substantive law to be adhered to in determining the admissibility of any piece of evidence was the Evidence Act 2011.
Relying on case law, she said the ACJL which was referred to by Banjoko, “is a procedural law which cannot supercede the Evidence Act”.
“The court should be allowed to proceed with the trial within trial to determine the admissibility of the defendant’s statements,” Shitta-Bey added.
However, when the defence counsel could not proceed with his reply on points of law, Justice Akintoye adjourned till April 21 for further hearing.
Udeme was arraigned last June 13 on a two-count charge of murder and misconduct with regard to a body.
Udeme is being tried for allegedly stabbing Symphorosa Otike-Odibi, also a lawyer, to death and mutilating his body by cutting his manhood on May 3, 2018, at their Diamond Estate, Sangotedo, Lekki, Lagos, home.
The prosecutor said the offences contravened sections 165 (b) and 223 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.
Udeme pleaded not guilty and was remanded in prison custody.