Court adjourns Melaye’s alleged false assassination information suit indefinitely

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A High Court of the Federal Capital Territory sitting in Maitama has adjourned indefinitely the trial of the representative of Kogi West in the senate, Mr. Dino Melaye, on a two-count charge of false information dissemination.

The trial judge, Justice Olasumbo Goodluck adjourned the trial sine die following the confirmation by the National Hospital, Abuja that Melaye was on admission at the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the hospital.

Melaye’s counsel, Mr. Ricky Tarfa, in an application to justify the absence of the senator in court, told the court that his client was still lying critically ill at the National Hospital. He tendered a medical report signed by the hospital’s Director of Medical Services, Dr. O. O. Olaniran, which confirmed that the senator was being managed at the hospital’s ICU.

Tarfa therefore urged the judge to consider the ill health of the defendant as a special circumstance that warranted his absence from trial. He urged the court to adjourn the trial pending the time his client would recuperate from the sickness and be able to stand before the court to answer the two-count criminal charge against him.

However, prosecution counsel, Shuaib Labaran opposed the request for the adjournment on the ground that there was no fact before the court that Melaye was arrested by the police and got injured in the process. He said Melaye’s counsel relied on media report on his claim of police arrest of his client and urged the court to discountenance the claim. He also said the medical report brought by the defendant was not admissible in evidence because it was not a certified true copy of the original.

But in her ruling, Goodluck said she was persuaded by both affidavit and documentary evidence before the court that Melaye was indeed incapacitated to appear for his trial.

“This court is unable to shut its eyes to latest medical report presented by the defendant to justify his non-appearance in court for his trial”, the Judge held, adding that contrary to the federal government’s contention, the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, ACJA, 2015, empowers the court to adjourn the case under such circumstance.

“This court will be acting judiciously and judicially by allowing an adjournment of this case on account of the defendant’s ill-health.

“The prosecution has not controverted by way of evidence, the state or medical condition of the defendant as at May 16 when this medical report was issued.

“It is only fair and just to adjourn this case sine-die until medical condition of the defendant is restored to enable him to be stable to stand his trial,” she added.

Melaye was arraigned on March 1 by the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) on a two-count charge for allegedly giving false information to the police to incriminate the chief of staff to Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State, Edward Onoja David, as the mastermind of the said assassination attempt on him.

He was also alleged to have given false statement of facts in a phone conversation with Mohammed Abubakar, son of the late former governor of Kogi State, Abubakar Audu, with the intention of harming the reputation of David.

He pleaded not guilty to the charges.

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