A High Court of the Federal Capital Territory sitting in Maitama, on Thursday declared the prosecution in the alleged falshood suit against a former Senator representing Kogi West at the National Assembly, Dino Melaye, foreclosed.
Melaye has been standing trial for allegedly giving false information to the police concerning an assassination attempt on him.
The police alleged that he sometime in April, 2017 deliberately gave false information to incriminate the then Chief of Staff to Kogi State governor, Edward David Onoja.
He was said to have given the name of Onoja as the mastermind of the assassination attempt on him
According to the police, Melaye was also alleged to have in April, 2017 given false statement of facts in a phone conversation with Mr Mohammed Abubakar, son of a late former governor of the state, Abubakar Audu, adding that the phone call was with the intention of harming the reputation of Onoja.
He pleaded not guilty to the two counts said to be punishable under Sections 140 and 393 of the Penal Code Law, Cap. 89, Laws of Northern Nigeria, 1963.
The trial judge, Justice Olasumbo Goodluck foreclosed the prosecution in a bench ruling on the application made by the counsel for Melaye, Mr Olusegun Odubela, SAN, who drew the attention of court to the absence of the prosecuting counsel.
The judge held that she could not disregard the antecedents of the counsel for the prosecution in the case.
According to her, the prosecution did not accord the court with the respect of a written letter explaining their absence in court, adding that the case had been adjourned more than the required five times at the instance of the prosecution through absence in court or non-preparedness to go on with the case.
The judge also noted that the court did everything possible to ensure that the case proceeded and even awarded cost against the prosecution at the last sitting on November 19 so as to encourage them.
Justice Goodluck further noted that she would have ordinarily dismissed the case for lack of diligent prosecution in line with the provision of Section 351 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), but she declined based on the submission of Odubela, who argued that the prosecution might resuscitate the case in the future if it was dismissed.
The judge then ruled that it was her considered view that “the case of the prosecution be foreclosed and it is hereby foreclosed”.
She thereafter adjourned till February 11, 2020 for the defence to make a no case submission.
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