Friday, 3 February 2012

UNBELIEVABLE! Judge threatens to dismiss case against Senator Ndume!

The trial of an alleged Boko Haram sponsor, Senator Aliyu Ndume on terrorism charges, at an Abuja Federal High Court was adjourned on Thursday following a request by the prosecution, the Federal Government.
Justice Gabriel Kolawole however threatened to strike out the charges against the Senator
if the government was not ready to prosecute the case.
During the last hearing in the case on December 19, 2011, Kolawole had granted bail to the accused, who was then in custody at the Kuje Prison in Abuja, and made an order for accelerated hearing of the case, adjourning the matter to February 2 and 7 and 14, 2012, for trial.
However, when the court sat for the commencement of trial on Thursday, Mr. Cliff Osagie, standing in for the lead prosecuting counsel, the Director of Public Prosecution in the Federal Ministry of Justice, Mrs. Olufunmilayo Fatunde, who was absent, drew Kolawole’s attention to a letter from the counsel (Fatunde) informing the court of her inability to attend the hearing.
Osagie expressed the DPP’s regrets for her absence, noting that the defence team had also been informed that the lead prosecution counsel would be absent as she had travelled for “an event of national importance.”
Osagie also informed the court that, as a result of Fatunde’s absence, the prosecution was seeking “a short adjournment.”
Mr. A. A Vangos, who stood in for the lead defence counsel, Chief Rickey Tarfa, who was equally absent, admitted that the defence team had already been notified about the DPP’s absence and her request for adjournment.
But as Kolawole moved to set a date for adjournment in line with the DPP’s letter which reportedly requested March 6 and 7, 2012, Osagie once again drew his attention to what he described as “a new instruction” from the lead prosecution counsel, saying “she wants the last week in February.”
Kolawole, however, threatened to dismiss the charges and discharge the accused person, if the DPP was not ready to prosecute him.
“Tell the DPP that if she is not ready I will discharge the suspect and that will be the end of the matter.
“If the state is not ready to prosecute the accused person, withdraw the charges and go to another place,” he told Osagie.
In his ruling on the request for adjournment, Kolawole noted that the development was an anti-climax.
He noted that the government was always eager to arraign suspects in high profile criminal cases with considerate media attention, only to turn around to become reluctant when it was time for the trial.
The judge wondered the national assignment that could be more important than the matter at hand.
He warned that he would not tolerate applications for adjournment in the matter, as he had already granted the two parties’ request for accelerated hearing.
 culled from

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