By Alex Enumah in Abuja
The Nigerian Police on Friday arraigned a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Inagozie Godwin, before an Abuja High Court over the alleged murder of Miss Anita Akapson, a niece to a former Minister of Finance, Senator Nenadi Usman.
DSP Godwin was said to have shot Miss Akapson at close range while she sat inside her car. She later died few hours after she was rushed to a nearby hospital in Gwarinpa area of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
In a criminal charge filed by the Commissioner of Police against DSP Godwin, aged 36, it was stated that Anita Akapson, 31, was shot to death on October 13, 2018 at about 9:45p.m., at Katampe area of Abuja.
The one-count charge, which the prosecutor said was a criminal offence, to wit culpable homicide ran contrary to section 22(3) of the penal code and punishable under section 22(4) of the same code.
Godwin, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge.
Following his not guilty plea, Prosecuting Counsel, Donatus Abah, asked the court for a date for commencement of trial of defendant.
Counsel to the defendant, Paul Samson informed the court of his client’s bail application, dated October 30, and filed same day.
After taking submissions by both counsel on the bail application, the trial judge, Justice A. O Ebong admitted the defendant on bail in the sum of N50m with two sureties.
Justice Ebong said he was minded to grant the defendant bail because the police prosecutor failed to advance cogent reasons under the law why bail should not be granted to the DSP.
The court noted that the offence was a culpable homicide, not punishable by death, but carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
Whereas the defence counsel relied on section 162 of ACJA to persuade the court to grant the accused bail, however, Justice Ebong said, that section in particular applies in offences that carry not more than three years sentence.
According to the court, all the factors that would have swayed the pendulum in favour of the prosecutor were not mentioned as he opposed the bail application.
Justice Ebong stated that he did not grant the accused bail based on the submissions made by the defence counsel with respect to the ill health of the cop, but because the prosecutor did not controvert the depositions contained in the affidavit of the defence counsel.
More so, the court agreed with the defence counsel that an accused is pressumed innocent until proven otherwise.
As part of conditions attached to the bail, the defendant must not travel without leave of court, and must live within the jurisdiction of the court in order to attend trial.
He is also to deposit his international passport and other relevant travel documents with the registrar of the court.
Justice Ebong, said the sureties must be serving public servants who should not be below the position of Directors and must be resident in their personal houses and must equally swear an affidavit of means.
However, the defendant shall be remanded in prison custody pending the perfection of the bail conditions.
The matter has been adjourned till November 29 for commencement of trial.