Godspower Mathew, a Nigerian cook, broke down in tears recently.
The man breathed fresh air after Chief Magistrate B.O. Osunsanmi of the Samuel Ilori Court, Ogbà Lagos, ordered his release after three years in remand.
Mathew and three others were arraigned in 2019 on counts of conspiracy and theft.
While the other defendants enjoyed bail, Mathew could not perfect his bail conditions and was remanded in the Kirikiri Medium Custodial Centre.
At the resumption of trial on Thursday, the court noted that the matter had been continuously adjourned since 2019.
The defence counsel asked the court to strike out the case and release the defendant, as the prosecution had not done its job.
Giving her ruling on the application, Chief Magistrate Osunsanmi noted that the matter had long been delayed by the failure of the prosecution.
She said, “The defence counsel has repeatedly asked that the case be struck out. The case is hereby struck out for lack of diligent prosecution. The defendant is hereby discharged.”
Our correspondent observed as Mathew broke down in tears while his relatives consoled him.
It was gathered that the complainant, a politician, never showed up in court while the case dragged on since 2019.
PUNCH Metro learnt that Mathew was a cook for the complainant, while the three other defendants were also house helpers.
The complainant was said to have reported a theft of his gold to the police, as Mathew and other workers were arrested.
A source told our correspondent that the complainant had relocated abroad.
“That’s why he has not been coming; the prosecution and the other lawyer did not want to mention that because they know it means there is no future for the case. No IPO has also been coming,” the source added.