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Prosecution absent at trial of Fasehun, others

Posted by From Lemmy Ughegbe, Abuja on 2006/02/01 | Views: 313 |

Prosecution absent at trial of Fasehun, others


JUSTICE Anwuli Chikere of a Federal High Court yesterday threatened to strike out the treason charges against the leaders of the Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC), if the Federal Government did not show up to prosecute the matter on the next adjourned date.

JUSTICE Anwuli Chikere of a Federal High Court yesterday threatened to strike out the treason charges against the leaders of the Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC), if the Federal Government did not show up to prosecute the matter on the next adjourned date.

The accused persons are Dr. Frederick Fasehun, Ganiyu Adams, Ajayi Olusola, Mudashiru Adeniji, Oyinlola Awe and Wahab Isiaka. The prosecution was absent in court yesterday.

Fasehun's counsel, Wahab Shittu, told the trial judge that his 70-year-old client's health was failing.

The defence counsel noted that the accused persons had been in custody for about three months and the prosecution appeared unwilling to go on with the trial.

Shittu argued that Section 35 (4) of the Constitution stipulates a maximum of two months for the conclusion of trial of an accused person after plea had been taken.

He said: "We are shocked that prosecution is not here. When we applied for bail, the prosecution was here to oppose it. Yet in spite of the fact that they reside in Abuja and the office of the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) is just a stone throw from the court, they have failed to come for the matter".

Speaking further, Shittu noted that counsel from the office of the AGF had appeared in court earlier for other matters, but failed to appear for the case although he had endorsed the attendance list for counsel.

He said: "The endorsement strengthens my case. It is a practice of 419. They endorsed the attendance list, yet they are not here. I, therefore, enjoin this honourable court to invoke Section 280 of the Criminal Procedure (C.P) Act, which empowers this court to strike out any criminal action against an accused if the prosecution does not offer any reasonable explanation for his absence".

Shittu added: "The prosecution has failed to give any reason whatsoever why they cannot come to court. The accused persons, who have remained in their custody, are in court. But they have refused to come to court or give reasons for not coming. I strongly urge my lord to strike out the matter by invoking Section 280 of the C.P. Act."

But Justice Chikere refused to strike out the matter, preferring to give prosecution the benefit of doubt.

She said: "This is the first time the matter has been mentioned for hearing. So, I will give the prosecution the grace of another adjournment. If by the next date,

they are not in court, then I will strike out the matter".

Justice Chikere also refused entreaties from Shittu to apply orally on the ground of Fasehun's failing health.

"If you want to apply for bail afresh, then come by the way of motion on notice. It is not my practice to consider oral application on a case of this nature. File your fresh application and put parties on notice. Then we can hear you," he said.

The trial judge added: "It is at the discretion of a court to hear or not to hear an oral application for bail. The discretion of this court is not to hear such application orally."

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Comments (3)

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Abieyuwa(Edo, Nigeria)says...

Otasowie means evening life is better than morning life. There is an error in your “evening life is better than evening life”?

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Naija g(Houston, Minnesota, US)says...

Sokari doesn’t mean joy. Joy is Biobela. Go to the village and ask the meaning of the name.

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Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.