Lawyers to embattled actor, Olarenwaju James, aka Baba Ijesha, have said they will appeal the judgment of the Lagos State Domestic Violence and Sexual Offences Court, Ikeja, Lagos, which, on Thursday, July 14, 2022, sentenced the actor to 16 years in prison for sexually assaulting a teenager, who happened to be adopted daughter of comedian and actress, Damilola Adekoya, aka Princess.
Babatunde Oridate, who is a member of the actor’s legal team, told Saturday Beats, “We are yet to receive copies of the judgment (from the court). We are going to review it, weigh our options and appeal it.”
On if the judgment came as a surprise, he said, “Well, yes; some parts of the judgment came as a surprise, especially the conviction. We felt it ought not to be so.
“The prison sentence starts running from today (July 14, 2022) but we will weigh our options and take the necessary actions. If we get an appeal, we will definitely ask for bail, pending the determination of the appeal.”
On if he thinks the public condemnation of the actor contributed to his conviction, Oridate said, “If you listen to the preamble to the judgment, the court said that it was not made by what people have said on social media.
“When issues like this arise, we should all keep calm and refrain from making statements preempting the judgment of the court. Who convicts in the court of public opinion? The court will always weigh the evidence before it before arriving at its judgment. I don’t believe social media comments or condemnation influenced the judgment. The court restricted itself to the evidence placed before it.”
Meanwhile, Princess, expressed dissatisfaction with the sentencing, which will run concurrently, meaning the actor will only spend five years in prison. In an Instagram Live video, she said, “If you don’t go and ask for forgiveness from God, with all the head of the children that Baba Ijesha has molested, nemesis will catch up with you and your supporters. Anybody that abuses a child should not spend less than 10 to 15 years in jail.”
Princess also called out veteran actress, Idowu Phillips, aka Iya Rainbow, and others for allegedly supporting Baba Ijesha. She said, “I do not fear you people. You took away my joy, you put sadness in my life. A person who has lost everything does not have anything to lose again. Iya Rainbow anywhere you go, God will not answer your call. He will be far from you because I did not do anything to you and I never stopped you from supporting who you want. Why do it at the detriment of my own name. Why stigmatise me and my children?”
Seemingly relieved at seeing the case to its conclusion, Princess wrote on Instagram, “Rape is evil. God cannot be mocked.”
In a response to the post, actress, Iyabo Ojo, wrote, “You are blessed and highly favoured, my love. Be comforted by Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort…”
Another actress, Toyin Adegbola, wrote, “God has vindicated you. God is the only comforter and He will continue to comfort you.”
Yet another actress, Mistura Asunramu, wrote, “God is good.”
Actor, Yomi Fabiyi, who had always supported Baba Ijesha maintained his stance as he wrote on Instagram, “Baba Ijesha was not found guilty of defilement– rape with car key, as charged, for lack of evidence. However, was found guilty of other charges bordering on sexual assault.
“Any indecent act against children is unacceptable and I have never and will never support such. I hold on to my belief that all ‘accused persons are innocent until proven guilty by a court of law.”