Alex Enumah in Abuja
Citing medical conditions, Justice Olasunbo Goodluck of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in Abuja thursday adjourned indefinitely the trial of Senator Dino Melaye over an alleged false report.
Melaye is facing a two-count charge of giving false information to the Nigeria Police Force, as well as falsely accusing the Chief of Staff to the Kogi State governor, Edward Onoja David, of trying to assassinate him.
Melaye, who represents Kogi West senatorial district at the National Assembly, was hospitalised following injuries he sustained when he reportedly jumped out of a moving police vehicle conveying him to Kogi State last April.
At the resumed trial, Justice Goodluck asked the defence lawyer, Rickey Tarfa (SAN), to provide an explanation for Melayeâ€™s absence in court.
Responding, Tarfa provided a medical report from the National Hospital, Abuja indicating that Melaye was in a critical condition and is currently under intensive care.
Reacting to the medical report, counsel for the prosecution, Shuaibu Labaran, questioned the admissibility of the said medical report.
According to Labaran, the medical report admitted before the court was sourced from a piece of evidence tendered at the Kogi State High Court, in the case of illegal distribution of arms, brought against Melaye.
Labaran argued that the medical report signed by a doctor identified as Olaomi O.O. from the National Hospital was not obtained directly from lawyers in the matter before the FCT High Court.
He asked the court to hold that the failure of the defence to certify the photocopied medical report rendered the report officially defective.
â€œIt is our further submission that exhibit b and c are duplicate copies of the supposed medical report emanating from the National Hospital, which the defense placed heavy reliance to convince this court as to the justification behind the absence of the defendant in this case.
â€œAssuming the document emanated from the National Hospital Abuja, it has become a public document which requires certification.
â€œOur objection is that it has no bearing with the document of this court,â€ he submitted.
Labaran alleged that the information contained in the medical report were largely subject of speculations by the deponent to the said medical report.
Responding to a statement made by the judge that the same medical report had indicated that the defendant was currently been held at the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), Labaran, pledged to suspend his objection once he sees the paragraph where the word: ICU was mentioned.
â€œAlright read the last paragraph,â€ said the judge.
After reading through the said paragraph however: Labaran noted that: â€œI have seen the ICU.â€
He, however, denied pledging to suspend his objection, as earlier stated. His action triggered laughter in the court.
Delivery the ruling, the court, held that based on the provisions of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, (ACJA) the medical report is admissible and could be considered by the court.
Justice Goodluck therefore adjourned the matter indefinitely.
â€œThis court is of the view that it can adjourn this matter sine-die until the medical conditions of the defendant is reported to have improved,â€ the court ruled.