Baba Ijesha, the embattled Nollywood actor, has alleged that he was forced to sign a confessional statement in the case of sexual assault against him.
The movie star has been in a legal tussle since he was accused of assaulting a 14-year-old minor when she was 7.
He is facing a six-count charge bordering on the indecent treatment of a child, sexual assault, attempted sexual assault by penetration, and sexual assault by penetration.
On Friday, Baba Ijesha spoke during his trial-within-trial at the Ikeja special offences court.
Oluwatoyin Taiwo, the judge, had ordered a trial-within-trial for the actor after Babatunde Ogala (SAN), his lead counsel, objected to the admissibility of the confessional statement as evidence against his client.
Ogala had opposed the statement being admitted as evidence against the defendant on the grounds that it was not willingly given by his client.
He had thereafter prayed the court to allow a trial-within-trial for Baba Ijesha to determine the voluntariness of the document — a request approved by the judge.
During the session, the film star told the court that he signed the statement under duress.
The 48-year-old also alleged that he was beaten with a stick, forced to sit on the floor before he signed the statement.
He also claimed that Comedian Princess was the one who gave the police everything in the statement after which he was only asked to sign the document.
Baba Ijesha, who was led in evidence by Dada Awosika, his counsel, said “my cloth was torn; I was forced to sit on the ground. My body was shaking.”
“They showed me the statement; I did not volunteer the statement. I was just asked to sign it. Princess dictated everything to them.”
But reacting, Oname Abigail, police inspector, dismissed the actor’s claim.
Abigail said the actor acknowledged that he understood the content of the statement before he signed.
“The defendant was shaking when I was about to take his statement. I offered him a chair to sit in to relax him but he said he preferred sitting on the floor to enable him to stretch out his legs,” she said.
“I calmed him down and told him he has to write his statement. I asked him questions in English and he responded to all of them in English. He requested that I should help him to write his statement as he could not write because he was shaking.
“When we finished, I read the statement to him and he told me he understood everything after which he signed the statement.”72