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FG accuses Metuh’s lawyer of making prejudicial comments on TV station

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JUSTICE Okon Abang of the Federal High Court in Abuja on Tuesday slated today to decide whether to order Channels Television to make available to the court, the video recording of yesterday’s edition of the Sunrise daily programme of the station.

Sylvanus Tahir, the prosecution counsel in the ongoing trial of the former spokesman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Olisa Metuh had told the court that a counsel in the team of lawyers to the former PDP spokesman, 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, where-in 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.

The former PDP spokesman fell down on Monday as he was making his way to the dock when his case was called.

Etiaba told the court that Metuh, who was absent in court yesterday was admitted at the Intensive Care Unit of the National Hospital, Abuja where is currently being treated of the spinal chord injuries he is suffering from.

He said if the court holds that it cannot try Metuh is 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 said the application for an order compelling Channels TV to produce a video recording of the Sunrise daily programme of the station, was based on hearsay evidence and that the court cannot take a decision on a hear-say evidence.

The counsel said the prosecution said he was called, on his way to the court around 8 am of 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.

Also 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.

He said, his (Metuh) refusal to sit down, which led to his fall amounts to disobedience to the directive of the court and added that the medical personnel that directed the Metuh be rushed to the hospital was not on the instruction of the court.

Tahir further submitted that there was no medical report or any evidence, explaining the absence of the 1st defendant in court for his trial yesterday.

In his words, “What is playing out is a complete disregard and disobedience to authority of the court and the judiciary”, and urged the court to continue with the trial in Metuh’s absence, adding that, it will not amount to violation of the principle of fair hearing under Section 36 of the constitution.

He said Metuh has no right to hold the state to ransom by refusing to come to court or doing things or taking steps to scuttle or frustrate a fair trial in the case.

Meanwhile, Justice Abang held that Metuh deliberately fell down on his own as the court’s proceedings were about to start on Monday.

Justice Abang said this while correcting an impression created in the submissions of a defence lawyer in the case, Tochukwu Onwugbufor (SAN), who was urging the court to adjourn the matter due to Metuh’s absence on Tuesday.

Metuh, who with his company, Destra Investment Limited, is being prosecuted by the Federal Government for the N400 million he allegedly received from the Office of the National Security Adviser and using same to fund the 2015 presidential elections of his party.

The court adjourned till today to rule on the application by the prosecution to order Channels Television to produce the video recordings of the programme which featured Metuh’s counsel and to also rule on whether to continue with the trial in the absence of Metuh as well as the continuation of trial.

The post FG accuses Metuh’s lawyer of making prejudicial comments on TV station appeared first on Tribune.

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