- Defence lawyers seek variation in bail conditions
By Emmanuel Addeh
Justice Aliya Ngajiwa of the Federal High Court, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, on Thursday granted an application by lawyers to Ese Oruru requesting the court to take the young girl’s evidence in camera.
The law allows judges to take evidence in private or in chambers in cases that would breach trade secrets, national security or matters involving minors.
In that case, the press or people who are not connected directly to the matter before the court would not be allowed in except lawyers to both parties and their witnesses.
Miss Oruru, 14, was allegedly abducted and impregnated by Yunusa Dahiru, a Kano indigene, resident in Bayelsa, in a case that has recently drawn both national and international attention.
Citing several authorities, Justice Nganjiwa affirmed that it was trite that once the court is satisfied with the facts before it, then it can make arrangement for any case to be held in private.
Justice Ngajiwa noted that in the opinion of the court, the accused would lose nothing if the evidence of the alleged victim, Oruru, is taken outside the public glare.
He held that subject to the provision of the relevant laws, cases are to be held in open court, but noted however, that the judge or magistrate may also use his discretion if in the opinion of the court, the subject is below 18.
According to the judge, victims, including those of rape and child trafficking that fall in that category can also be protected by the court.
The judge further affirmed that the mother of the now heavily pregnant Miss Oruru has been able to show the court that her daughter was less than 18 years.
‘’What will the accused suffer if the victim‘s evidence is taken in private? I hereby order that the evidence should be taken in private and in the court chambers. The application hereby succeeds’’, Ngajiwa said in his ruling.
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