Court Ad­journs Al­leged False In­for­ma­tion Suit against Me­laye In­def­i­nitely


Alex Enumah

Cit­ing med­i­cal con­di­tions, Jus­tice Ola­sunbo Goodluck of the High Court of the Fed­eral Cap­i­tal Ter­ri­tory ( FCT) in Abuja yes­ter­day ad­journed in­def­i­nitely the trial of Se­na­tor Dino Me­laye over an al­leged false re­port.

Me­laye is fac­ing a twocount charge of giv­ing false in­for­ma­tion to the Nige­ria Po­lice Force, as well as falsely ac­cus­ing the Chief of Staff to the Kogi State gov­er­nor, Ed­ward Onoja David, of try­ing to as­sas­si­nate him.

Me­laye, who rep­re­sents Kogi West se­na­to­rial dis­trict at the Na­tional Assem­bly, was hos­pi­talised fol­low­ing in­juries he sus­tained when he re­port­edly jumped out of a mov­ing po­lice ve­hi­cle con­vey­ing him to Kogi State last April.

At the re­sumed trial, Jus­tice Goodluck asked the defence lawyer, Rickey Tarfa (SAN), to pro­vide an ex­pla­na­tion for Me­laye’s ab­sence in court.

Re­spond­ing, Tarfa pro­vided a med­i­cal re­port from the Na­tional Hos­pi­tal, Abuja in­di­cat­ing that Me­laye was in a crit­i­cal con­di­tion and is cur­rently un­der in­ten­sive care.

Re­act­ing to the med­i­cal re­port, coun­sel for the pros­e­cu­tion, Shuaibu Labaran, ques­tioned the ad­mis­si­bil­ity of the said med­i­cal re­port.

Ac­cord­ing to Labaran, the med­i­cal re­port ad­mit­ted be­fore the court was sourced from a piece of ev­i­dence ten­dered at the Kogi State High Court, in the case of il­le­gal dis­tri­bu­tion of arms, brought against Me­laye.

Labaran ar­gued that the med­i­cal re­port signed by a doc­tor iden­ti­fied as Olaomi O.O. from the Na­tional Hos­pi­tal was not ob­tained di­rectly from lawyers in the mat­ter be­fore the FCT High Court.

He asked the court to hold that the fail­ure of the defence to cer­tify the pho­to­copied med­i­cal re­port ren­dered the re­port of­fi­cially de­fec­tive.

“It is our fur­ther sub­mis­sion that ex­hibit b and c are du­pli­cate copies of the sup­posed med­i­cal re­port em­a­nat­ing from the Na­tional Hos­pi­tal, which the de­fense placed heavy reliance to con­vince this court as to the jus­ti­fi­ca­tion be­hind the ab­sence of the de­fen­dant in this case.

“As­sum­ing the doc­u­ment emanated from the Na­tional Hos­pi­tal Abuja, it has be­come a pub­lic doc­u­ment which re­quires cer­ti­fi­ca­tion.

“Our ob­jec­tion is that it has no bear­ing with the doc­u­ment of this court,” he sub­mit­ted.

Labaran al­leged that the in­for­ma­tion con­tained in the med­i­cal re­port were largely sub­ject of spec­u­la­tions by the de­po­nent to the said med­i­cal re­port.

Re­spond­ing to a state­ment made by the judge that the same med­i­cal re­port had in­di­cated that the de­fen­dant was cur­rently been held at the In­ten­sive Care Unit (ICU), Labaran, pledged to sus­pend his ob­jec­tion once he sees the para­graph where the word: ICU was men­tioned.

“Al­right read the last para­graph,” said the judge.

Af­ter read­ing through the said para­graph how­ever: Labaran noted that: “I have seen the ICU.”

He, how­ever, de­nied pledg­ing to sus­pend his ob­jec­tion, as ear­lier stated. His ac­tion trig­gered laugh­ter in the court.

De­liv­ery the rul­ing, the court, held that based on the pro­vi­sions of the Ad­min­is­tra­tion of Crim­i­nal Jus­tice Act, (ACJA) the med­i­cal re­port is ad­mis­si­ble and could be con­sid­ered by the court.

Jus­tice Goodluck there­fore ad­journed the mat­ter in­def­i­nitely.

“This court is of the view that it can ad­journ this mat­ter sine-die until the med­i­cal con­di­tions of the de­fen­dant is re­ported to have im­proved,” the court ruled.

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