The High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, on Tuesday stalled the trial of the Kogi East senator, Dino Melaye, after the testimony of the first prosecution witness.
Melaye was earlier accused of giving false information to the Police to implicate the Chief of Staff to Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State, Edward Onoja David, in an alleged assassination case that has to do with his (Melaye) life.
On March 1, 2018, Melaye pleaded not guilty of the allegations against him by the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation.
Meanwhile, when the case hearing was resumed on Tuesday, the prosecution called David, who is the nominal complainant, as its first witness.
Led by the prosecuting counsel, Chika Nnana, David was cut short by the defense counsel, Olusegun Jolaawo, while in the witness box.
Jolaawo raised an alarm of objection, saying he had searched the proof of evidence and could not find David’s statement. He argued that allowing the witness to continue his testimony without the defence having prior knowledge of his evidence would violate Melaye's right to fair hearing.
"From the copy of the proof of evidence, there is no statement on him on record as required in the extant provision of the Constitution, Section 36( 6) thereof, and section 397 of ACJA to the effect that defendants must give all materials necessary to enable him to conduct his defence. This is the position of the law, ” he said.
The judge, Justice Olasunbo Goodluck, also noted that the said copy of the statement was not included in the court’s copy of the proof of evidence.
Nnana, the prosecuting counsel reacted, said that although she had a copy of the statement in her file, the non-inclusion of the statement in the proof of evidence was an error of omission.
She therefore requested that the matter be stood down for five minutes to enable her serve the document on the defence.
Jolaawo did not hesitate to opposingly frown the application for a stand down., arguing that the proper thing the prosecution needed to do was to file a motion seeking the court's leave to file additional proof of evidence in which the statement could be included.
The defence lawyer said that would take more than five minutes requested by the prosecuting counsel. Nnana was then forced to ask the court for an adjournment.
The judge nonetheless expressed dissatisfaction over the attitude of the prosecution but agreed to adjourn the matter till December 5 and 13.