A 14-count charge bordering on forgery and conspiracy brought against the National Chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Chief Edozie Njoku by the Nigerian Police Force has been struck out by the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) sitting in Bwari.
Edozie, who was charged alongside the National Youth Leader of the party, Chukwuemeka Nwoga, was arraigned in court by the police on November 22, 2022, for allegedly forging a judgement of the Supreme Court in an appeal marked: SC/CV/686/2021 and presenting same as genuine with the intent to mislead the public.
The police also alleged that the defendants committed offences that were punishable under sections 179 and 366 of the penal code law.
Justice Mohammed Madugu, however, in his judgement on Tuesday, held that the prosecution failed to adduce any credible evidence to prove the 14-count charge it preferred against the defendants.
According to the court, the police was unable to discharge the burden of proof that was placed on it by the law, adding that the prosecution did not establish how Njoku, being the National Chairman of APGA, committed the alleged impersonation.
Justice Madugu thereafter struck out the charge for lack of documentary and oral evidence to sustain it, adding that due to “lack of sufficient and credible evidence, the prosecution has failed woefully to prove its case against the defendants.”
The trial judge further held that by the provision of section 138 of the Evidence Act, the onus was on police to establish the criminal allegation it levelled against the defendants, beyond reasonable doubt.
“It is crystal clear that internal disputes in APGA had played a significant role in causing complexity of this case,” the judge noted, adding that though there were elements of conspiracy in the charge, the prosecution also failed to produce any evidence to link the defendants with the offence.
“In accordance with section 178 of the penal code, the prosecution did not establish any dishonest intent from the letter Chief Njoku wrote to Justice Mary Peter Odilli, retired,” the court held.
“I find the 1st defendant, Chief Edozie Njoku and the 2nd defendant, Chukwuma Nwoga not guilty as charged, and therefore they have been discharged and acquitted,” Justice Madugu added.
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