The Commissioner of Police yesterday arraigned a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), Inagozie Igochukwu Godwin, who allegedly shot and killed Miss Anita Akapson, before the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Zuba.
He was thereafter granted bail in the sum of N50million.
Meanwhile, the human rights activist and constitutional lawyer, Kayode Ajulo, kicked against the bail granted the defendant. He accused the prosecutor for “displaying inherent conspiracy and a clear attempt to shield one of their own.”
Ajulo, a family lawyer to Senator Nenadi Usman, said, “the issues canvassed and argued in the counter- affidavit of the prosecution were so watery, porous and riddled with incompetence.”
The Police Commissioner had filed a criminal charge against the 36-year old accused for shooting the 31-year old Akapson on October 13 at Katampe area of Abuja.
The one-count charge, the prosecutor said, is a culpable homicide, which runs contrary to section 22(3) of the Penal Code and punishable under section 22(4) of the same code.
The charge was read to the accused cop and he pleaded not guilty. Afterwards, the prosecution counsel, Donatus Abah, requested for a date for commencement of trial. But counsel to the defendant, Paul Samson, informed the court of his client’s bail application dated October 30 and filed the same day.
After taking submissions by both counsel on the bail application, the presiding judge, Justice A. O. Ebong, admitted the accused on bail in the sum of N50million with two sureties.
Justice Ebong stated that he was minded to grant the defendant bail because the police prosecutor failed to advance cogent reasons under the law why bail should not be granted to the DSP.
The court also noted that the offence is not punishable by death but carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
Whereas the defence counsel relied on section 162 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act to persuade the court to grant the accused bail, Justice Ebong said the section in particular applied in offences that carry not more than three years sentence.
According to the judge, all the factors that would have swayed the pendulum in favour of the prosecutor were not mentioned in his argument against the bail application.
Justice Ebong stated that he was not granting the accused bail based on the submissions of the defence counsel with respect to the ill health of the cop, but because the prosecutor did not controvert the depositions contained in the affidavit of the defence counsel.
The judge however agreed with the defence counsel that an accused is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
As part of the bail conditions, the court requested two sureties that must be serving public servants and who should not be below the position of directors.
They must also be resident in their personal houses and must equally swear an affidavit of means.
Justice Ebong further ordered that the accused must not travel without leave of court, and must live within the jurisdiction of the court in order to attend trial.
In addition, the court ordered the defendant to deposit his international passport and other relevant travel documents with the court registrar.
Until the bail conditions are met, the court ordered that the accused be remanded in prison custody.
The matter has been adjourned until November 29 for commencement of trial.