THERE was a mild drama at a magistrate court in Warri, Delta State, at the resumed hearing in the kidnap case involving a lawyer, Mr. Casely Omo-Irabor, when, at a point, his counsel, Mr. Oghenejabor Ikimi, accused the trial magistrate, Mr. A. Odjugo, of laughing while he was addressing him and therefore sought the permission of the court to transfer the case to another court.
Ikimi, who engaged the Magistrate, Odjugo, in a protracted argument over the “laughing matter” accused him of exhibiting bias against his client, who is standing trial on a three-count charge of offering a bribe of N700,000 to the police to allegedly secure the release of a suspected kidnapper, Mr. Vincent Akpokona, and perverting the course of justice.
He said because of the magistrate’s laughter, the defence team had lost confidence in the court.
Prosecuting police officer, Mr. Godson, argued that having failed to prove the particulars of loss of confidence in court, the court should disregard the defence and continue with the case, a prayer which the court granted.
Godson expressed regret that the defence had been using different antics to frustrate the prosecution of the case.
Earlier, the office of the Attorney–General of the state, represented by Mrs. Odogwu, announced its withdrawal from the matter to enable the police continue with it. But defence counsel, argued that the withdrawal by the state Ministry of Justice amounted to a nolle-proseque. The police prosecutor, however, argued to the contrary, citing the provisions of Police Act to support his case.