Court of Appeal in Ondo State, has freed the founder of Sotitibire Praising Chapel, Akure, Pastor Babatunde, who was convicted over missing one-year-old Gold Kolawole.
The lower court, presided over by Justice Olusegun Odusola in 2020 sentenced Babatunde and five others – Omodara Olayinka, Margaret Oyebola, Grace Ogunjobi, Egunjobi Motunrayo and Esther Kayode – to life imprisonment, having found them guilty of two charges.
In his reaction, the state Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Charles Titiloye, who is also the prosecutor, said the state government would study the judgement before deciding on the next step to take on the matter.
He said: “The court has affirmed that DSS can investigate any case and does not have a jurisdictional problem to investigate a case like this. However, the court has stated that the circumstantial evidence upon which the conviction was based upon at the lower court is not enough to sustain the conviction of the defendants. Our attitude from the state is that we study the judgement and take the proper steps we are supposed to take on the matter.”
The counsel to the appellant, who was represented by Akinyemi Omoware, said: “It was held that the appellant was not found culpable of the alleged offence. He is not guilty as pronounced upon by the trial court. We are using this medium to tell the members of the church and the general public that they should rejoice with conscience.
“They should not go out causing problems. They should take it that that is the will of God. We are happy about this.”