Nigerian Police arraign journalist for Chibok protest stories

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The accused is being charged for ‘Injurious Falsehood’ under section 393 sub-section 1 of the penal code.

The Nasarawa State Police Command, on Monday, arraigned Hir Joseph, a Daily Trust Newspapers reporter, before Chief magistrate court 2 sitting in Lafia on allegation of injurious falsehood over protests on the abduction of Chibok school girls.

Police prosecutor, Joshua Abolarin, told the court that the accused wrote a story captioned “Female NSCDC, Police personnel Demand Rescue of Chibok girl,” published on page 9 of May 9, 2014 edition of Daily Trust newspaper.

Mr. Abolarin added that the accused further published another story captioned “Police detained six female cops over save our girls protest” on page 56 of Daily Trust newspaper of May 11, 2014.

He alleged that the accused wrote the stories with the intent to injure or cast aspersions on the credibility of the Nigerian Police Force or give the impression that Nigeria Police women were against the wisdom of the Federal government in steps taken to rescue the girls.

According to him, the accused was being charged for ‘Injurious Falsehood’ under section 393 sub-section 1 of the penal code.

Mr. Abolarin, therefore, prayed the court to remand the accused in prison custody, claiming that if granted bail he might commit another offence.

When the charge was read to the accused, he pleaded not guilty.

However, counsel to the accused, Mohammed Danjuma, argued that the offence was bailable since it was not a capital offence citing section 340 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

He pleaded with the court to grant the accused bail having pleaded not guilty and should be presumed innocent until proven otherwise.

Ruling on the bail application, the magistrate, Yakubu Eggah, granted the accused bail to the tune of N150,000 and a surety who must be resident with the jurisdiction of the court.

He, therefore, adjourned the case to June 19, 2014 for hearing.

Mr. Joseph was earlier arrested on May 9, and detained at the Police CID in Lafia for over nine hours and released on bail. He was asked to return to the Police CID, Lafia, on Monday from where he was taken to court for arraignment.


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