An Abuja Division of the Federal High Court on Monday granted bail to Supreme Court Justice Sylvester Nguta, with a bond of N100 million.
Mr. Nguta was arraigned before Justice John Tsoho on Monday for alleged fraud and concealing evidence of corruption.
He is among seven judges arrested by operatives of the State Security Service on October 8, after a midnight raid on their residences by the SSS.
After pleading not guilty to the 15-count charge, the judge’s lawyer, Kanu Agabi, asked the court to admit his client on bail.
The prosecution counsel, Charles Adeogun, objected to the bail application, saying Mr. Nguta was capable of interfering with witnesses and concealing documents that could incriminate him.
The trial judge, John Tsoho, said the application was also allowed based on self recognizance, since the defendant was in court and given his status as a Supreme Court Justice.
Mr. Tsoho said although allegations of culpability in impeding cause of justice have been made against the defendant, his court was not aware of any official document revoking his administrative bail, based on the alleged offences.
He added that it was important for the prosecution to maintain the honour of consistency.
Mr. Tsoho urged the prosecution to give the defendant the benefit of doubt on any material inconsistencies.
The trial judge said although the circumstances alluded to may have made the bail application cumbersome, the essence of justice would be defeated if his court sets aside the presumption of innocence.
“It is my view that it will defeat the essence of justice to prevent the accused from attaining to his bail, with regards to the allegations. I hold the respective view that the offences are bailable,” Mr. Tsoho said.
The case has been adjourned to December 7 for hearing.