17 August 2018

Nigeria: Court Adjourns Journalist Jones Abiri's Case to September

An Abuja Chief Magistrate court presided by Chukwuemeka Nweke has adjourned the trial of a journalist, Jones Abiri, to September 5.

The adjournment Friday followed the absence of the prosecution counsel in court and after the court realised the prosecution counsel had not served the defence application.

Mr Abiri, who was detained by the State Security Service (SSS) for two years without trial over alleged linked to armed militancy in the Niger Delta, was released on Wednesday after meeting his bail conditions.

His release came after the court reviewed his bail conditions.

Mr Abiri, publisher and editor-in-chief of Weekly Source Newspaper, had been granted bail after he was charged to court following public outcry.

On Friday, the Chief Magistrate when put on notice that the prosecution counsel was absent ruled for an adjournment.

On Thursday, the defendant's lawyer, Samuel Ogala, had complained to the court that the prosecution had ignored its order to serve the defence the proof of evidence.

He described the action of the prosecution as a breach of section 350(2) of ACJA as it is mandatory to serve the defence such evidence.

According Mr Ogala, serving the defence the proof was to ensure speedy dispensation of justice.

The lawyer had also opposed the any further adjournment of the case, saying it will not serve justice to the defendant as he needs to reunite with his family after his prolonged incarceration.

On Thursday, Mr Nweke, said the reasons given by the prosecutors for an adjournment were not justifiable and said he had earlier warned the prosecution that the court would not be used as a cell for storing cases.

He said if by Friday the proof of evidence was not served on the defence and witnesses called, the case would be struck out.

On Friday, however, the judge adjourned the matter to September 5 for definite hearing.


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