Ogun State Judiciary holds first virtual court proceedings
The Ogun State Judiciary held her maiden virtual court proceeding at the State High Court within the new Judiciary Complex in Abeokuta with two separate criminal cases marked AB/5R/2020 and AB/ 19R/ 2020.
The virtual proceedings were carried out to test run and fast track the administration of criminal justice in the state using innovative technology amid lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The court and one of the correctional facilities were linked together technologically with all sides participating in the process effectively and unhindered.
The first case has to do with the state and one Ade Emmanuel while the other also pertain to the State and two accused persons – Yusuf Ayinde and Ajibola Samuel, who were charged with conspiracy and attempted robbery.
Before the first case was mentioned by the presiding Judge, Justice Mosunmola Dipeolu, who doubled as the Chief Justice of the State, the Prosecuting State Counsel, Olusegun Olaotan, told the court that he had three witnesses in respect of the case but could not bring them to court because of the lockdown.
Olaotan, who is also the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) in the state, pleaded with the court to adjourn the trial in order for him to perfect the process of assembling his witnesses at the next adjourned date of May 26.
The second case also suffered the same fate as Olaotan informed the Court that he had six witnesses but could not get them to attend the proceeding because of the ongoing lockdown.
He said the witnesses had not been served the relevant court summons because of the lockdown, assuring that they would be served when the lockdown is relaxed.
He, therefore, applied for the adjournment of the second case, which was granted by the Court as the defence Counsel, Rasheed Salam, was not opposed to it. The second case was subsequently adjourned till June 9.
The Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in Ogun State, Gbolahan Adeniran, who spoke with reporters after the proceedings said justice can not stop because of the coronavirus pandemic and the associated lockdown.
Adeniran further explained that the maiden edition was an opportunity to test run the process and to prepare them as to what to expect during a full blown proceeding or trial session, stressing that many judiciary officers were being trained on the technology to ensure the effectiveness of the innovation.