The trial of Lekan Shonde, the 51 year old dock worker standing trial for the murder of his wife of 8 years and mother of their two children (Ronke), which kicked off on Friday, May 20, at an Ebute Meta (Lagos) magistrate court is just beginning. The real case starts on June 24 (that is if the Director of Public Prosecutions in Lagos is ready to go on) at a High Court.
By and large, the trial which rests its case on ‘a blow to the head of Ronke by Lekan’ will last far more than two years. Before judgment is delivered, we would have settled well in 2018, unless there is a concerted effort to speed up the trial.
Other murder trials in Lagos in recent years lasted that length before judgment was delivered.
Here are some of the episodes we would witness in the case which unfolded in the night of May 5…
The accused will be brought to a high court from Ikoyi Prisons on June 24, and if the Director of Public Prosecutions is ready, the case will go on.
The charges will be read afresh and his plea of guilty or not guilty heard.
The prosecution will ask for the fresh remand of the suspect in prison.
The court will again adjourn for the prosecution to open its case.
The defense may try to argue that the accused should be given bail. If entertained, the argument for bail will have to be heard first. But it cannot be determined that day.
Before now, a list of evidence against the accused will be assembled. The evidence will be tendered – autopsy report, photographs, videos, call logs with text messages and possibly recorded conversations.
Both the prosecution and defense will also list their witnesses.
The witnesses will be heard one after the other, led in evidence by prosecution and cross examined by defense.
They will be neighbours, pathologists, policemen, colleagues, family and friends of the victim and accused. They will disparage his character, damage his reputation or paint a glowing picture.
The judge will listen to all of these witnesses, examine the evidence and ask for written submissions.
After more than two years of trial, he will adjourn for judgment.
And on the day judgment is set to be delivered, we will again watch keenly the saga to know the verdict.
After over two years of trial, many highlights and dull moments, the case will be concluded. Either way, if the parties are not satisfied with the judgment, they will appeal. And another long process starts…