Baba Ijesha: Forensic video interview of alleged molested victim viewed in court

Baba Ijesha:Forensic video interview of alleged molested victim viewed in court

The third witness for the prosecution in the sexual assault trial of actor, Olanrewaju James has concluded her testimony.

The trial which started in June this year was heard before Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo of the Lagos state Sexual and Special Offences Court in Ikeja.

Anike Ajayi-Kayode of the Cece Yara Child Advocacy Centre told the court at the last hearing in September that she interviewed the alleged 14-year old victim who gave “a free recall” of the alleged acts of defilement by the defendant.

On Wednesday, the court viewed the recording of the forensic interview session of the witness and the child in question, whose names are withheld due to being underaged.

From the interview, the child recounted how Baba Ijesha allegedly came visiting at their family’s residence, when she was home alone, and brought out his private part and told her to remove her underwear, which she did. She says she then felt a wetness around her legs, after which he asked her to clean herself while he also cleaned himself with a handkerchief.

She added that, the next day, he came around to their house again, and asked her to follow him to his car to bring the fruits he bought, and as she bent to pick them, he inserted his car-key in her backside.

The minor was seen in the video being given two male and female dummies to demonstrate the alleged acts, which she did.

She was questioned on the truth of the child’s statements during cross examination by the two lead defense lawyers, Babatunde Ogala and Dada Awoshika, both Senior Advocates of Nigeria.

But, Mrs Kayode-Ajayi maintained that though the victim was seven years old at the time, her brain cells were well developed to recall events in full and that she had explained during the pre-interview session on the need for her to tell the truth. She added, “I asked her open ended questions and she gave Episodic memory recalls.”

The witness also debunked Mr Ogala’s position that the alleged victim was neglected by her foster mother, the comedienne, Damilola Adekoya, popularly called, Princess.

In her words, “90 percent of abusers are family members or other persons with easy access to the child, they could even be caregivers like drivers, teachers, domestic staff or religious leaders.”

The witness was also accused of basing her findings after the interview on opinion and hearsay, which she denied.

Mr Awoshika (SAN) said the interviewing guidelines which the expert said she relied on when she met with the child weren’t protocols recognised under Nigerian laws. But, she said the procedures have since been adopted in several countries.

The defense counsel also asked her about her academic qualifications as a certified specialist, to which she affirmed that though she wasn’t a qualified child psychologist, she had undergone the necessary trainings on child forensic education, in addition to being a qualified lawyer.

Further hearing continues on Thursday.

 

 

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