The Police on Wednesday re-arraigned Yinka Johnson, a banker in Lagos, who was earlier accused of killing an official of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, (LASMA), Hameed Balogun, before an Igbosere Magistrate’s Court on a one count of reckless driving.
At the resumed hearing of the case, Police prosecutor, Chukwu Agwu, applied to the court to withdraw the earlier charge of manslaughter and substituted it with the new one.
The old charge which was drafted on the old Lagos State Road Traffic Law 2003 was replaced with the new Lagos State Road Traffic Law 2012.
The new charge read, “That you Yinka Johnson ‘on August 10, at about 8:30am at Mega Chicken, Ikota Ajah expressway Lekki, Lagos did drive your Land Rover Jeep with registration No- CY 276 LSD on the highway recklessly by driving your vehicle against oncoming vehicle and without reasonable consideration for other road users and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 7(b) of the Lagos State Road Traffic Law 2012.”
The accused however pleaded not guilty to the new charge.
Attempts by the lawyer of the accused, Emeka Okpoko to argue that his client cannot be charged under the new traffic law as it is yet to be enforced proved abortive.
Mr Okpoko argued that various publications in some newspapers gave the impression that the law was yet to take effect as government planned to carry out public enlightenment on the said law before implementing it.
The trial Magistrate, Jacob Adegun ruled that the Prosecution has the right to substitute the charge under the law.
After the arraignment, the police prosecutor informed the court that Lagos State Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) has called for the case file and urged the court to adjourn the matter until the DPP gives further directive on the matter.
The accused person was however, granted bail on the earlier conditions while the Magistrate has adjourned the case till 28 September for mention.
The court had earlier granted bail to Mrs Johnson in the sum N50, 000 with one surety in like sum.
Mrs Johnson, an employee of Stanbic IBTC, drove a Range Rover Jeep against traffic at Mega City, Ikota, along Lekki-Epe Expressway and was accosted by a LASTMA official who allegedly seized the keys of the vehicle.
Eye witnesses reportedly said while the traffic official attempted to cross to the other side of the road, he was crushed by a fast moving commercial bus.