FG accuses Metuh’s lawyer of prejudicial comments on TV station
Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja yesterday fixed today to decide whether to order Channels Television to make available to the court, the video recording of yesterday’s edition of Sunrise Daily programme.
The prosecution counsel in the ongoing trial of the former spokesman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Olisa Metuh, Sylvanus Tahir, had told the court that a counsel in Metuh’s counsel, Ben Chuks Nwosu, who featured in the programme, made comments that touched on the subject matter pending before the court, for which Metuh is standing trial.
Tahir then applied to the court orally for an order summoning the TV station to produce the video recording of the programme, which was aired yesterday, wherein Nwosu allegedly made a prejudicial comment in the matter before the court.
The Judge will also decide whether or not to proceed with Metuh’s trial without his presence in court.
This followed an application by Metuh’s counsel, Emeka Etiaba (SAN) that the court cannot proceed with the trial in the absence of his client.
Etiaba had told the court that Metuh, who was absent in court yesterday has been on admission at the Intensive Care Unit of the National Hospital, Abuja, where is currently being treated of the spinal chord injuries he has been suffering from.
He stated that if the court holds that it cannot try Metuh in his absence, “it then follows that an adjournment will be granted until his client is fit to appear in court to face his trial”, Etiaba added.
Etiaba noted that the application for an order compelling Channels TV to produce video recording of the Sunrise Daily programme of the station, was based on hearsay evidence and that the court cannot take decision on a hearsay evidence.
The counsel added that the prosecution said he was called on his way to the court around 8:00am yesterday, that Ben Chuks Nwosu was on the panel, discussing the matter that is pending before the court, and that he did not witness it personally.
In his submissions, the prosecution counsel told the court that Metuh on Monday violently disobeyed a lawful order of the court to sit down where he was seated for the proceedings to go on.
According to him, Metuh refusal to sit down, which led to his fall amounted to disobedience to the directive of the court, while the medical personnel that directed that Metuh be rushed to the hospital did not do so on the instruction of the court.
Tahir further submitted that there was no medical report or any evidence, explaining the absence of the first defendant in court for his trial yesterday.
Meanwhile, Justice Abang held that Metuh deliberately fell down on his own, as the court’s proceedings were about to start on Monday.
The judge said so while correcting an impression created in the submissions of a defence lawyer in the case, Tochukwu Onwugbufor (SAN), who urged the court to adjourn the matter due to Metuh’s absence yesterday.