Justice Gabriel Kolawole of the Federal High Court in Abuja on Wednesday threatened to close the prosecution case in the trial of Senator Ali Mohammed Ndume over the state’s foot dragging on the matter.
In a ruling on the prosecution’s application for adjournment, Justice Kolawole condemned the conduct of the state’s prosecutor, Mrs. G. N. Okafor, for not exhibiting sufficient diligence in the handling of the case.
It would be recalled that the court had on April 29 adjourned till Wednesday for the prosecution to call its expert witness, who was expected to give evidence on call data and other information regarding telephone conversation.
However, when the case was called, Mrs. Okafor told the court that her witness was ill and could not make it to court.
She also failed to provide medical report in support of her claim, a development the defence lawyer, Rickey Tarfa (SAN), frowned at.
Tarfa said it was unfair of the prosecution lawyer not to have informed him before the court’s sitting that her witness was absent and that she will not be able proceed with the case.
The defence lawyer also said ordinarily, he would have asked the court to close the prosecution’s case, but will leave the issue at the court’s discretion.
Ruling, Justice Kolawole said: “The opportunity for today’s proceedings was dashed because the prosecution suddenly took ill and is unable to come to court.
“Because there is no medical report produced to support the claim, I found the excuse of ill-health almost improbable. But I have already indicated that I will oblige the prosecution the adjournment sought”.
The trial judge said he will further tolerate the prosecution because the witness is its last in the case.
He, however, warned that should the prosecution make similar application for adjournment on the next adjourned date, it should be prepared to persuade the court to grant such request its favour.