Absence of prosecution counsel, witness stall Melaye’s trial

Dino Melaye in court today
Dino Melaye in court today

The trial of the senator representing Kogi West, Dino Melaye, was on Tuesday stalled due to the absence of the prosecution counsel, Shuaibu Labaran.

The trial was also stalled due to the absence of a prosecution witness.

Mr Melaye is facing trial before the Federal Capital Territory High Court in Maitama for allegedly providing false information to the public regarding an assassination attempt against him.

He was arraigned by the federal government through the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation. The matter was slated for today for the continuation of hearing.

During the court session on Tuesday, the prosecution represented by Abubakar Mustapha told the court that the matter was for cross-examination.

He then pleaded with the court that the matter cannot proceed as there was a communication gap between him and the lead counsel, Mr Labaran who was absent.

He also informed the court of the prosecution witness’ absence who was to be cross-examined today by the defence counsel.

He, therefore, prayed for an adjournment.

On his part, the defence counsel, Olusegun Jolaawo, opposed the adjournment application and told the court that “On January 18, this matter came up with the same excuse.

“The reason the matter could not go on that day was that the same witness was absent in court and no tenable reason was given.


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“This is the second time on record as a witness who is in the box is absent from court.

“The witness has an obligation to make himself available on every adjourned date, whether court sits or not, until your lordship orders his discharge.

“We could not carry out cross-examination majorly because he is absent from court.”

Mr Jolaawo explained that “section 215 of the Evidence Act further clarifies on the issue of the order and direction of examination, by stating in the following subsections: Witnesses shall be first (examined-in-chief), then if any other party so desires, cross-examined, then if the party that called him so desires, re-examined.

According to Mr Jolaawo, this section of Evidence Act gives them the right to cross-examine a witness.

Prior to this, the presiding judge, Olasumbo Goodluck adjourned to July 3, 4 and 10.

Ms Goodluck added that this would be last time she would be adjourning this matter.


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