Alleged attempted murder: Court orders police to produce Akwa Ibom lawmaker
A Chief Magistrate’s Court sitting in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State capital has ordered the police to produce a councillor to answer the charge of alleged attempt to murder a woman, Iniubong Andrew Essien, in Ibiono Ibom Council of the state.
Presiding Chief Magistrate, Martin Johnson, who expressed displeasure over the way the police were handling the matter, stated that the accused person, one Uduak Godwin Etim, alias King Pele, ought to have appeared in court right from the outset.
‘’This is a capital offence. Why did you release him on bail? If the accused person was a farmer or petty trader, would the police have released him or her on bail? The police should look for him and arrest him. The police should have invited him and brought him to court after the first day. The police has the duty to bring him to court. So, get him. You are to bring that man”, Johnson said.
The Chief Magistrate equally berated counsel to the accused person, Mfon Ben, for giving excuses over the inability of his client’s appearance in court.
Responding, Ben expressed regret over the situation “we have found ourselves”, saying the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Uwemdimoh Nwoko, and other top officials in the state had waded into the matter with a view to brokering a truce.
The courtroom however became a bit rowdy when the police counsel, Japheth Japheth, kicked against an attempt by counsel to the defendant to tender a counter-affidavit on the matter, saying that he lacked the locus ‘’to stand with the counter-affidavit in his hand”.
However, the police counsel pledged that the police would bring the accused person on the next adjourned date, saying, ‘’On the 14th day of May, we will bring him before you. We will produce the accused person. There should be accused person before prosecution counsel”.
In his summation, a Lagos based lawyer and counsel to the claimant, Inibehe Effiong, relying on the State Criminal Law, noted that the court has the power to compel the accused person to appear before it since the police were unable to bring him.
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In his ruling, Johnson insisted that the accused person must be brought to court on May 14, which is the next adjourned date, noting that he would have struck out the charge but for the weight of the matter and the need to dispense justice.