court
court

RIVERS STATE High Court,
yesterday, became rowdy after
the trial Judge in the matter
against former Chairman of Asari-
Toru local government area, Hon
Ojukaye Flag-Amachree, for
alleged murder, refused to grant
the accused bail.
Trouble started after the security
men that brought Flag-Amachree
to court ordered his supporters,
who had stormed the court
room, to vacate shortly after the
ruling, a situation that was met
with resistance. Both lawyers and
journalists had to scamper for
safety as the accused loyalists, who
were outside, attempted to make
their way into the court room.
Delivering the ruling which
lasted about 30 minutes, the
trial judge, Justice Margret
Opara, refused to grant the bail
application of the accused on
grounds that the three medical
reports obtained from the prison,
University of Port Harcourt
Teaching Hospital, UPTH, and
a private clinic, did not disclose
exceptional case to enable the
court grant him bail.
In analysing arguments
brought before the court by both
prosecution and defence counsels,
Justice Opara, averred that it was
the duty of the court to look at the
affidavits and evidence before it.
Justice Opara further averred
that issues for determination
by the court include; nature of
the offence, severity of offence,
strength of evidence brought
against the accused, criminal
record of the accused, if the
accused may not surrender
himself for trial if granted bail,
insecurity posed by the accused if
granted bail, etc.
The trial judge also submitted
that after carefully examining the
evidence before her, there was
proof that the accused was ill, but
added there was confusion in the
medical report from the private
clinic. She, however, granted
the accused access to his private
doctors while in prison.
Justice Opara also ruled that the
court at this stage cannot determine
the weight of evidence brought
before it; neither can it determine
whether the charge is a mere
camouflage. She, therefore, ordered
for accelerated hearing of the matter
and adjourned to June 21 and 22,
2016 for commencement of full trial.
Earlier, the trial judge refused an
appeal filed by the State Attorney-
General and Commissioner for
Justice, Mr Emmanuel Aguma,
SAN, which was filed the previous
day and yet to be served on the
accused on grounds that it was
only intended to stop the ruling.
Reacting to the ruling, counsel
to the accused, Mr David Izaga
said he will consult his client on
the next line of action, adding
that they were not comfortable
with the ruling. According to him,
there are enough grounds for the
accused to appeal the ruling.
He said: “No counsel to an
accused person will be comfortable
with a ruling that denies his client
bail. But we can’t run faster than
the accused. First we need to do
consultations.
“We think that there are enough
grounds for the accused to appeal
the bail. The accused is sick, very
sick. We know the state of our
prisons in Nigeria. Even the prison
state alone can bring sickness not
to talk of somebody who has a
terminal disease and then you are
granting a doctor from outside
who will not be able to monitor
him. He will leave him in the
hands of the prison authority.
So, knowing the state of Nigerian
prisons, we are not comfortable
that our client will remain in such
a place.”


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