By Vivian Okejeme Abuja
A Federal High Court Abuja, yesterday, fixed February 21, for the parties in the trial of Charles Okah and Obi Nwabueze, the alleged masterminds of the October 1st, 2010, Independence Day Bomb blast, at the Eagles Square Abuja, to adopt their final addresses.
In the suit number, FHC/ABJ/CR/186/2010, the federal government is prosecuting Okah, Nwabueze, Edmund Ebiware and Tiemkemfa Francis-Osvwo (aka General Gbokos) over their alleged involvement in the bomb blast which left about 12 people dead and several others injured.
Ebiware is serving life sentence upon conviction on 2013, after been tried separately, while another defendant, Francis-Osvwo died in prison custody.
At the last adjourned date, the court fixed February 12, for the adoption of addresses by the parties.
However, when the matter came up yesterday, Monday, the adoption of addresses could not proceed because of an application brought by the prosecution Counsel, Alex Izinyon, SAN, seeking leave of court to regularise one of his documents.
According to Izinyon, the document is a list of items mentioned by the first prosecution witness, John Afolabi, in his testimony, which was tendered and later admitted in evidence, as exhibit 1.
Reacting to the development, Counsel to 1st and second defendants Emeka Okafor and Oghenovo Otemu, objected to the admissibility of the document.
They argued that the document was not stamped, and therefore, was invalid before the court.
Further in his argument, Okafor averted that allowing Izinyon to withdraw the document for the purpose of stamping it would amount to stealing a match from behind.
Urging the court to dismiss the application, OkaforOkafor submitted that the application of the prosecution counsel “is alien and unknown to law and the criminal procedure of Nigeria.
“Granting the application upon presented facts, at this stage of trial, will amount to mistrial of the defendant and will orchestrate a serious miscarriage of justice, and abuse of court process”.
Justice Gabriel Kolawole had on 23 April, 2015, admitted the document, but gave the defence counsel, window of opportunity to address the court on the weight to be attached to the document.
But, the prosecution counsel insisted that the court in its ruling on April 23, had permitted him to stamp the document out of time.
“The judgement has not been given, the prosecution may decide to even amend the charge at any stage of trial. We don’t want to leave any stone unturned” Izinyon said.
In a short ruling, Justice Kolawole adjourned till February 21, to rule on the prosecution’s application and adoption of addresses by parties.