The Sexual Offences Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos has fixed February 17 for embattled Nollywood actor, Olanrewaju James, popularly known as Baba Ijesha, to open his defence over allegations of sexually assaulting a minor.
Baba Ijesha is facing six counts bordering on the indecent treatment of a child, sexual assault, attempted sexual assault by penetration, and sexual assault by penetration.
He had pleaded not guilty to all the counts when he was arraigned on June 24 last year.
When the case was called on Wednesday, defence counsel Dotun Ajulo told the court that though the proceedings were scheduled for adoption of the address of a ‘no-case submission’, the defendant had decided to enter a defence.
“The defendant has decided to defend the matter properly, so we didn’t bother to file a no-case submission again,” he said.
The new Lagos State Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Dr Jide Martins, who had himself just come into the matter following the elevation of the previous DPP, objected to the request for an adjournment.
After listening to both parties, Justice Taiwo agreed that Ajulo had never appeared on the matter.
She stated that the DPP was also new to the matter as the previous DPP, Mrs Olayinka Adeyemi, had been elevated and appointed a judge of the Lagos State High Court.
“I grant the indulgence of the defendant as the senior advocates have always appeared in court,” the judge said. “We cannot drag this matter. If they are not in court at the next adjourned date, we will just have to proceed.”
The court then adjourned till February 17 and 18, for the defendant to open his defence.