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COZA: Morality must not be confused with legality, UK-based Nigerian lawyer explains why the Dakolos may lose rape case against Fatoyinbo


Nigerian lawyer

A United Kingdom-based Nigerian lawyer, Dr Charles Omole, has explained why Busola and Timi Dakolo may likely lose the legal battle in their rape allegation levelled against Biodun Fatoyinbo, the Senior Pastor of Commonwealth of Zion Assembly (COZA).

WuzupNaija reports that the singer’s wife caused social media and national outrage after her interview with YNaija last month where she alleged that the cleric raped her when she was a teenager about 20 years ago.

The allegation and the outrage that followed led Fatoyinbo to announce that he was taking a leave from the pulpit.

Reacting to the recent outrage which followed an alarm raised by the singer on Saturday that armed men were laying siege on his residence., Omole gave a legal perspective to the matter and explained what may eventually end the case.

Omole, the Director-General of the Institute for Police and Security Policy Research (IPSPR), is also a strategist to governments across Europe and Africa.

In a long thread via his Twitter handle @DrCOmole, on Sunday, the legal practitioner said historical crime allegations are notoriously difficult to prosecute even in the West.

He also stated that legal proceedings in such cases are not so much about truth; but about what can be proven in court.

READ ALSO: COZA: Aisha Buhari raises alarm over Police summon of the Dakolos

Omole also advised the accuser to allow moral outrage to shape legal and victimology investigations, saying it is an unwise tactic.

He also cautioned supporters of the accused cleric against attacking those making allegations.

“The tactic doesn’t work,” he said.

Dr Omole wrote:

“ON DAKOLO v FATOYINBO – A LEGAL PERSPECTIVE: I once had a Domestic Violence case in which wife alleged the husband punched her with boxing gloves during a fight. She presented pictures of her battered face in court. But the Husband denied beating her and that she must have been beaten by someone else or fallen and trying to incriminate him.

“There is no history of DV prior to this. I believed the wife, but needed the Crown to give me the evidence to convict. The Prosecution failed. The boxing gloves recovered from the house was misplaced by the police. No witnesses presented. So I had to let the husband go.

“Cases are about evidence and not morality or feral outrage. This leads to me to the Dakolo case in Nigeria. It is possible to do the right thing in the wrong way. Both sides of the polarised Dakolo v Fatoyinbo saga are being blinded by their biases.

“It is the duty of the Police to investigate Both sides of any allegations. First, headline today says “Police Storm Dakolo residence”. Then the story said there were 3 officers. Can that really be said to be “Storming”? With the headline, I was expecting to read at least a dozen officers were there.

“Needless sensation does not build legal culpability. Secondly; folks said Fatoyinbo has not been questioned on Dokolo’s allegations. How do you know that? He could have chosen to be quiet about his own questioning.

“He could have chosen not to publicise his own visit to the police. If the Dakolo’s have not raised alarm on SM, they too could have been questioned without anyone being aware. Clearly, police could simply have invited them for questioning. Those who allege a crime as serious as Rape need to be treated with more respect and sensitivity. A source told me that the Investigation team had actually taken Fatoyinbo’s side of the story and needed to take Dakolo’s too. And because the team are in Abuja, they felt the Dakolo’s should be interviewed by same team.

“But the police team could easily have visited Lagos to interview the Dakolos. Trying to ship them to Abuja was unnecessary and insensitive. Moral outrage is one thing; Legal culpability is another matter. If Mrs Dakolo has said the alleged sex was consensual; police will not be involved in this case; although the moral outrage will still persist because a Pastor is involved. So we need to understand that these are different standards. Allowing moral outrage to shape legal and victimology investigations is unwise.

“The Police need to be careful and even-handed in this case. But they also cannot also be prevented from doing their job by a moral mob who have concluded guilt without evidential analysis. Global evidence shows that if there are 10 allegations of historical nature against a person; usually 3 will be false, 3 will be True and 4 will be exaggerated. An accused may be Innocent of a particular allegation; but could be guilty of others. In the UK, a man is currently being prosecuted for making many false historical sexual abuse allegations against many people.

“But some of the people he made allegations against have also been convicted of other charges based on allegations of other victims. So a person may be Innocent of a particular allegation but guilty of other similar crimes. Things are more nuanced than many appreciate.

“Morality must not be confused with legality. I have had to let go accused that I suspected were guilty because prosecution could not provide adequate evidence that is “beyond reasonable doubt”. The criminal evidential standard is very high indeed. So gut instincts is not evidence.

“Historical crime allegations are notoriously difficult to prosecute even in the West. Only 15% of them makes it to courts and out of that successful prosecution rate is less than 10%. Folks need to know that prosecuting old allegations without forensic evidence or witnesses is hard

“In such cases, the focus will be on the Credibility of both parties as it is one person’s word against the other. So any holes or genuine mistakes in details given by the alleged victim will be magnified and used to destroy her credibility. This is not an unusual tactic all over the world. In the West; cases of historical sexual crimes get withdrawn all the time if the alleged victim is found to have got her facts wrong, lied or exaggerated any fact. So details do matter.

“From what I have gathered so far; unless Fatoyinbo admits guilt; I do not see how he can be criminally convicted of raping Mrs Dakolo almost two decades ago. The evidence is just not there. Oral Evidence of siblings and family members is discounted heavily in court because they are seen as biased. They are perceived as usually lacking objectivity.

“So I can safely predict that there will be no criminal conviction in this case, unless accused admit guilt. If all we are dealing with is just moral outrage, then I can understand the use of SM (Social Media). But if criminal culpability is what is being sought; a SM war is the wrong way to go.

“For those who support Dakolos; you need to be honest that legal conviction is highly unlikely and this is not about police corruption. The rule of law states a person is considered legally Innocent if there is no conviction. We cannot keep calling someone guilty without a conviction.

“In the end, legal proceedings are not so much about Truth; but about what can be proven in court. No evidence means no conviction. It is that simple. Most of those who claim they want justice for Mrs Dakolo are actually going about it the wrong way and harming her case with their biased and sensationalised outburst. I will go about it differently if I were them. If needed, I will use the Al-Capone doctrine to get justice for her. But that requires level-headedness, patience and forensic attention to detail many don’t seem to have.

“For those supporting Fatoyinbo; criminally, there is very little to be concerned about. The evidence is just not available to required standards. The moral outrage is, however, a different story. Again if I were them; I will not employ attacking those making allegations as a tactic. It doesn’t work. I will rather use a Multi-level Infusion Technique (MIT) to lower the media temperature and direct the focus of citizens. In the end; my analysis has only been about the Legal aspects of this saga and not the moral or religious angle.

“I will allow others to deal with those aspects. In war, your objective MUST be clear. Trying to fight on all fronts is unwise. So we must choose our battles and focus our resources. Just as with our politics; we must avoid emotion and follow the evidence. In the end; may the truth win.”



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