The Court of Appeal sitting in Akure, Ondo State capital, has discharged and acquitted Prophet Babatunde Alfa the founder of Sotitobire Praising Chapel, Akure.
You would recall that Prophet Alfa was jailed last year over the mysterious disappearance of a 13-month child, Gold Kolawole from his church in November 2019.
Reports had it that Gold was brought to the church service by his parents before his mysterious disappearance.
Prophet Alfa’s church was consequently razed down by a mob as a result of the incident.
The prophet was arrested by the men of the Directorate of State Security and later charged to court on two-count charges of kidnapping and aiding and abetting to kidnap.
A high court in Ondo State presided over by Justice Olusegun Odusola in 2020 had sentenced Prophet Babatunde and five others to life imprisonment, having found them guilty of the two-count charge.
In a latest development, the Court of Appeal sitting in Akure presided over by Justice Hammah Barka has upturned the judgement of the high court stating that the circumstantial evidence upon which the lower court based its judgement was not enough to convict the appellant.
As a result, Prophet Babatunde Alfa was discharged and acquitted.
The Ondo State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Charles Titiloye, who is also the prosecutor, said “the court has affirmed that DSS can investigate any case and does not have a jurisdictional problem to investigate a case like this.”
“However, the court has stated that the circumstantial evidence upon which the conviction was based upon at the lower court is not enough to sustain the conviction of the defendants. Our attitude from the state is that we study the judgement and take the proper steps we are supposed to take on the matter.”
He however said the state government would study the judgement before deciding on the next step to take on the matter.
The counsel to the appellant, who was represented by Akinyemi Omoware, said the court judgement had shown that truth would always prevail over falsehood.
Omoware said “It was held that the appellant was not found culpable of the alleged offence. He is not guilty as pronounced upon by the trial court. We are using this medium to tell the members of the church and the general public that they should rejoice with conscience. They should not go out causing problems. They should take it that that is the will of God. We are happy about this.”
The missing boy, Gold has however not been found till date.