Politics Today: Justice Abang Threatens To Strike Out Metuh’s Case

Politics Today

Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court in Abuja threaten on Monday to strike out the criminal accusation documented against Chief Olisa Metuh, previous Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Abang's threat was spin-off of the failure of prosecution advise, Sylvanus Tahir, to contradict a suspension by the court in view of the conclusion of a medicinal doctor from the Federal High Court.

The doctor was hastily called by the registrar after the collapse of Metuh when he needed to enter the dock.

As a result of the fall, Justice Abang rose for 29 minutes, and upon return, he demanded from the court registrar and two other clerks what transpired in court when the matter was called for the continuation of trial.

But while the proceeding was on, the medical doctor from the court told Justice Abang that the 1st defendant needed to be taken to the hospital for further examination due to the fall.

The judge, who was visibly disturbed, wondered why a medical doctor who was not in the courtroom when Metuh slipped and fell would request that the defendant be taken to the hospital.
However, Abang proceeded to rule on the issue.

He said, “In view of the application of the medical doctor in the employment of Federal High Court, that was not in court at the commencement of proceeding, and there being no objection, and since it is a medical opinion, this matter is adjourned to May 22.”

But before the adjournment, Justice Abang was furious at the prosecution for not opposing the application for an adjournment.

“The Federal High Court has nothing against the 1st defendant. It is the duty of the prosecution to prosecute its case,” the court stated, adding, “This is not a case of the Federal High Court; if the prosecution does not want to proceed with the trial, the court will strike out the case.”

The court wondered how a medical doctor who was not in court would request that Metuh be taken to the hospital and the prosecution did not want to oppose the plea for adjournment.

Before the adjournment, Metuh was back in court for the continuation of trial.

Justice Abang had on April 19 barred him from travelling abroad for medical treatment.

At the resumption of trial on Monday, when the criminal charge was called for hearing, Metuh in the process of trying to enter the dock slipped and landed uncontrollably on the floor.

It took the intervention of Metuh’s relatives to help carry and lay him on a stretcher.

While the medical doctor from the court was attending to Metuh, Justice Abang returned to sit.

As soon as he resumed sitting, Justice Abang summoned the court registrar, Doyin Olawole, and the two clerks, Omoju James and Dorcas Danjuma, to address the court on what transpired.

After narrating one after the other what transpired in court, the court requested the defence counsel to call his eleventh witness.

However, Emeka Etiaba (SAN), counsel to Metuh, submitted that he could not go on when his client was lying critically ill on a stretcher.

“The 1st defendant had a terrible fall while trying to mount the dock, and I don’t even know if he is alive or not on that stretcher”, Etiaba stated.

“Since the court has insisted on proceeding with the trial, I announce my withdrawal from the trial,” Etiaba stated.


Efforts by Etiaba to adduce reason for his withdrawal was rebuffed as Justice Abang refused to record him.

In a bench ruling, Justice Abang refused Etiaba’s withdrawal, saying it was a ploy to delay trial.
Meanwhile, reacting to what transpired shortly after the court had adjourned, the prosecution counsel, Sylvanus Tahir, said the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015 provides that a defendant “can always stand trial while he is before the court”.

He continued: “Now, if the medical personnel had said or given an opinion to the court that the defendant needed to be evacuated to the hospital, I was asked to comment, naturally what would I say?” Tahir queried.

“Going by the law, I have to say I will not oppose, more so that the case was adjourned to tomorrow (May 22),” the prosecution stated.

Justice Abang had on April 19 refused an application filed by Metuh seeking leave of the court to travel abroad for medical treatment.

Before the dismissal of the application, Justice Abang had on May 25, 2016, and October 23, 2017, dismissed similar appeals, noting that “there is nothing new in the instant application.

“I am wondering, with every sense of responsibility if the 1st defendant (Metuh) is really sick to warrant him being brought to court on a stretcher.

“I have my doubt if the 1st defendant is actually sick,” Justice Abang had stated.

The court questioned that if Metuh is really sick and was in dire need of medical attention abroad, “Why is it that the 1st defendant did not challenge the decision of the trial court at the Court of Appeal”.

Meanwhile, Metuh had last week headed to the Court of Appeal to seek redress.

Remember to get updated through our Direct Notifications via clicking AllOW, and also join us in growing a community of Information by liking our Twitter, Facebook Fan Page, Linkedin Twitter

Comments

Most Read