Wednesday, May 17, 2017 7:17 pm
The Federal High Court in Lokoja on Wednesday adjourned ruling in the case of Austin Okai, online publisher, charged with sedition and defamation against Gov. Yahaya Bello of Kogi, till May 31.
Justice Mohammed Sani adjourned the matter to rule on the applications of the defence counsel, Jibrin Okutepa (SAN), who objected to the motion by the prosecution to file an “amended charge.”
The prosecuting counsel, Gabriel Otowu, sought to file an amended charge to the 13-count charge in the suit no: FHC/LKJ/26c/2017.
Okutepa, however, objected the submission.
Okutepa said the prosecution was “unqualified” to amend a charge in a matter before the court without having the permission of the presiding judge to do so in the first place.
“They (prosecution) have acted ultra vires (beyond the powers); the police have no power to do so.
“I urge your lordship to strike out this paper called, ‘amended charge. You (the prosecution) don’t grant amendment to yourself”, said Okutepa.
He averred that the duty of the police was to protect the fundamental rights and liberty of citizens.
“You are not to be filing charges that are akin to political persecution rather than prosecution”, he said.
Okutepa drew the attention of the court to what he described as threat to the life of his client.
He urged the court to excuse the absence of the accused person from the court until all pending interlocutory injunctions were disposed of.
He said his client would appear to attend to his trial proper, explaining that the move was in the interest of his safety.
The prosecution, however, objected to the submission of the defendant’s counsel, urging the court to discountenance same. (NAN)