Stroke Of Luck: Court discharges 2 defendants for lack of diligent prosecution

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Court gavel.

Both suspects were place on trial on a two-count charge of criminal conspiracy and theft.

A Gudu Upper Area Court in the FCT on Wednesday discharged two defendants who allegedly stole 13 rolls of Certificate of Road Worthiness belonging to Euphoria Press Limited, Kaduna, due to lack of  diligent prosecution.

The defendants, Ayodele Joseph, 39, Michael Jacob, 28, both former staff of Euphoria Press Ltd, Kaduna, were first arraigned in May 2016.

Both men are facing trial on a two-count charge of criminal conspiracy and theft.

They had pleaded not guilty to the charges, and the Presiding Judge, Alhaji Umar Kagarko, ordered that they be  remanded in prison, pending the conclusion of police  investigation.

Seeking discontinuation of the case, Counsel to the first defendant, Miss Mercy Ojene, told the court that from the first day of arraignment, the prosecution had not appeared in court, neither produced any witness.

“The prosecution will only bring letters after the court had sat just to pick a date, but never appeared for once,’’ Ojene said.

She urged the court to “struck out the matter for want of diligent prosecution’’, as the case suffered many adjournments.

Counsel for the second defendant, Mr Suleiman Umoru, also prayed the court “to strike out the matter as the prosecution shown lack of diligent prosecution.

“I align myself with the submission of the first defence counsel.

“The defendants were arraigned  since May last year. It’s been 11 months and two weeks today and the prosecution has failed to prosecute this matter.

“I humbly urge My Lord to strike out this matter in the interest of justice until when the prosecution is ready, as the defendants are public servants.”

After quoting relevant sections of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA, 2015), Kagarko discharged the defendants.

The Prosecutor, Fidelis Ogbobe, had earlier told the court that the defendants conspired and deceived the security guard of Euphoria Press Ltd., Kaduna, as if they were being sent by the chairman of the company.

“They told the security on duty that they were sent by the chairman to confirm if there was any Certificate of Road Worthiness for delivery at Abuja V.I.O office.

“After being granted access to the building, the two stole 13 rolls of Certificate of Road Worthiness containing 113 booklets.”

Ogbobe said the two had confessed that they committed the offence, contrary to sections 97and 288 of the Penal Code. 



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