Apo 6: Court rejects admissibility of statement of accused policeman

Apo six

An Abuja High Court on Tuesday refused to admit the statement of an accused, Sadiq Salami, who is facing trial over the alleged 2005 killings of five spare parts dealers and a female companion.

Mr. Salami is charged along with DCP Danjuma Ibrahim, ASP Othman Abdulsalami (still at large), Sergeants Nicholas Zacharia, Emmanuel Baba and Emmanuel Acheneje, who have been discharged from the Nigeria Police.

The policemen have been accused of killing Ifeanyi Ozo, Chinedu Menriu, Isaac Ekene, Paulinus Ogbonna, Anthony Nwokike and Tina Arebun in 2005.

At the resumed hearing in the case, Justice Ishaq Bello rejected the admissibility of a confessional statement purportedly written by Salami in respect of the murder.

While testifying, Ayuba Ede, an Assistant Commissioner of Police, told the court that Mr. Salami wrote the said statement under his supervision on June 27, 2005.

Mr. Ede said that as a Senior Police Officer in Garki Police Station, he was ordered by his superior, Julian Ukpaleke, then a Commissioner of Police, to record the statement of the accused (Salami).

Prosecution Counsel Mamman Usman (SAN) sought to tender the said statement as exhibit, but Ricky Tarfa (SAN), the counsel to Mr. Ibrahim, opposed the move.

Mr. Tarfa, who cited Section 97 2 (e) of the Evidence Act, said the statement was not admissible in that it was a photocopy “which is a secondary evidence of another document”.

He urged the court to reject the statement sought to be tendered by the prosecution.

Also in his objection, counsel to Mr. Zachariah (3rd accused), Ibrahim Tola, contended that the court should reject the document because it did not meet with the requirements of the Evidence Act 2011.

Counsel to Mr. Baba (4th accused), Anthony Agbolahan, urged the court not to admit the statement because the prosecution should have supplied the court with the original copy of the document.

Also objecting, counsel to Mr. Acheneje (5th accused), Uche Uba, objected to the admissibility of the statement.

Mr. Bello, in his ruling, held that the photocopy of the document the prosecution counsel, Mr. Usman (SAN), sought to tender failed to meet with the conditions of the Evidence Act 2011.

He said that since the statement was said to have been allegedly written by Mr. Salami, the prosecution should have supplied the court with the original copy and not a photocopy.

The judge further held that the prosecution failed to convince the court to admit the statement of the accused.

Mr. Bello then adjourned the case to February 15 for continuation.

The judge gave the prosecution counsel the last adjournment date of June 15, following his inability to produce Isiah Mogaba, who performed a post-mortem examination on the corpses of the deceased.

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