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Marlians jubilate as Court strikes out theft charge against Naira Marley

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A Tinubu Magistrates’ Court in Lagos State on Tuesday dismissed a car theft charge filed by the police against hip-hop artiste, Azeez Fashola, popularly called Naira Marley, his two brothers and their cousin.

Chief Magistrate Tajudeen Elias made the order after receiving a letter from the police disclosing their intention to withdraw the case.

Marley, who was absent, was said to be in the United States “for medical”.

Marley, his two brothers: Idris Fashola, 18; Babatunde Fashola, 24 and their cousin, Kunle Obere, 22, were standing trial on a four-count charge of conspiracy, stealing, assault and obstructing the police from arresting Marley.

They were arraigned by the police last December 16, but Marley, the fourth defendant, was absent.

The court granted the trio N500,000 bail each with two sureties in the like sum.

Chief Magistrate Elias ordered the Investigative Police Officer (IPO) to produce Marley in court on December 31 so he could take his plea.

Following his failure to honour the court date and pleas for another chance by his counsel, Mr. Awokulehin Ayodeji, the court threatened to order the artiste’s arrest if he didn’t show up yesterday.

At the commencement of proceedings yesterday, only Marley’s brothers and cousin were present.

Prosecuting Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Edet Okoi told the court that Marley and the three other defendants had reached an out of court settlement with the complainant, Mr. Adelekan Ademola.

Okoi tendered a letter bearing the agreement to Mr. Elias.

The defendants’ counsel, Mr. Awokulehin, confirmed that a deal had been reached.

Chief Magistrate Elias also confirmed the agreement from Mr. Ademola, who was present.

He said: “In view of the letter of withdrawal, the defendants are hereby discharged.”

Afterwards, Marley’s lawyer told The Nation why he (Marley) was absent.

Awokuleyin said: “As we speak, he is not even in the country. He is abroad for medical. But the most important thing is that the charge has been withdrawn and consequentially, the matter is dead.

He is in the United States.”

The lawyer declined to state the terms of the agreement.

Awokuleyin said: “We reached a resolution and parties were able to settle the matter. As we speak, the matter has been discharged from court and the charge has been dropped. The terms are confidential.”

The complainant, Ademola, said his car had been repaired and the items taken from him returned by the defendants.

He explained the reason for the prosecution: “Nobody is above the law. You don’t take the law into your hands. That’s the reason.

“It (what happened to me) could have happened to any other person. That was my main reason for taking it up to this level, that’s what I gained out of it, to make an example. It’s not for any (financial) gain.

“Also, I don’t want a situation where I would have to be looking over my shoulders, the rest of my life.”

He said he was not coerced into settling the case.

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