A 29-year-old man, Joseph Nwudu arrested by the Lagos State governor, Babatunde Fashola was on Thursday arraigned before an Alausa, Ikeja Special Offences Court for road traffic offence.
Mr Nwudu was arrested by the policemen in the convoy of the governor for driving one-way on November 2, 2012 when he ran into the convoy of the governor.
The Lagos state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Ade Ipaye was the prosecutor in the suit filed before a Special Magistrate Court presided by Senior Magistrate E. M. Johnson.
The commissioner for Justice who led two other lawyers, George Okeke and Femi Alabi for the prosecution alleged that the defendant was accosted by the policemen working with the governor for driving his Honda Accord IV- TEC model marked XW 646 AGL against on-coming traffic at about 1.05 am on the day of the incident.
He said that the defendant, who faced a one count offence of violation of road traffic offence, was coming from Campbell Street inward to J.K. Randle road on the Lagos Island.
Mr Ipaye said that the defendant’s vehicle was impounded and brought to the office of the Task Force at Alausa while he was subsequently charged to court.
The commissioner urged the court to proceed to apply the Lagos Traffic Law 2012 against the defendant.
When the charge was read, the defendant pleaded guilty as charged and to the facts of the case as narrated by the state Attorney General.
His counsel, Segun Ayodele however pleaded for leniency for the defendant who he said is a first offender and has no record of breach of traffic law of the state.
Ayodele said that the defendant does not reside in Nigeria but in Dubai and that he was in Nigeria to attend to his ailing father who died five minutes before his arrest.
“He is remorseful having realised what he did is against the traffic laws of the state”, Mr Ayodele told the magistrate adding that on the day in question, he just lost his father about five minutes before his arrest.
According to Ayodele, the defendant had on the day preceeding his arrest, took his ailing father to St. Nicholas Hospital and was with him till he suddenly passed on during the night.
He said the defendant was going to his hotel room to pick some things, including money to be paid before the body of his father could be admitted into the morgue.
“It was in this emotional condition that the defendant set out to go to his hotel room when he inadvertently went into one-way against on-coming traffic.
“The route he even took that day was a longer route to the alternative route available. In view of this, I urged the court to be compassionate with the defendant”, he said.
Mr Ayodele pleaded with the court to take the situation of the defendant into consideration and for the magistrate to use her discretion in determining judgement in accordance with section 36(3) of Road Traffic Law 2012.
Delivering judgement, the magistrate found the defendant guilty as charged having considered the facts of the case as stated by the AG and admitted by the defendant.
She thereafter sentenced the defendant to eight hours of community service.
The magistrate said she was mindful of the circumstances on hand and the emotional shock the defendant was going through as at the time the offence was committed in arriving at her decision.
She however stated that the defendant must also give an undertaken that he would not violate Lagos Traffic laws again.