Defence counsel’s absence stalls Delta monarch’s murder case
As judge bars journalists from court premises
Justice M. O. Omovie of the High Court, Ibusa, Delta State, yesterday, adjourned hearing in the case of murder of the late Obi Akaeze Ofulue III of Ubulu-Uku in Aniocha South Council due to absence of the defence counsel.
Omovie also ordered journalists out of the court premises before commencement of proceedings.
In the suit marked: A/20C/2017 and A/198/2017 between the state, Jamilo Ahmed and three others, Justice Omovie adjourned next hearing to April 28, 2021 due to failure of the defence counsel to appear for the accused persons.
Four suspects are standing trial for the murder of Ofulue, who was kidnapped and murdered in 2016.
Security operatives had arrested the suspects in various parts of the country and recovered the monarch’s stolen telephone, which led to their arrest.
Registrar of the court told journalists that their presence was detrimental to the presiding judge and as such they should leave or get a permit from the Chief Judge of the state before they could be allowed to cover the proceedings.
Lawyers and other members of the public at the court premises were shocked at Justice Omovie decision, saying it was unthinkable that a judge of the High Court could give such an order, noting that journalists were important in the dissemination of information to the public and that court proceedings were not an exception.
They urged the Chief Judge of the state, Justice Marshall Umukoro, to caution Omovie against such orders, noting that his action was tantamount to impeding justice delivery.
Speaking to newsmen at the court premises, Chief Ojeigwu of Ubulu-Uku Kingdom, Dr. Samuel Nwabuoke, lamented the gruesome murder of the late monarch, adding that the incident remained a source of trauma to the community, but expressed belief that justice would finally be done.
President-General of Ubulu-Uku Development Council, Jonathan Monye, noted that although the trial had lingered from 2016, the Ubulu-Uku people would not relent in their quest for justice, noting that since the killing of the monarch, the community had not know peace.
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