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Plateau judge frowns at police laxity in court

10 April 2014, 17:13

Jos - Justice Ambrose Allagoa of the Federal High Court Jos, on Wednesday said that he was not happy with the laxity displayed by police prosecutors in the court.

He said that he had noticed, of recent, police prosecutors’ laxity in handling criminal matters.

Allagoa expressed the concern during an examination of a witness in a matter before him by the police prosecutor, Tonyi Lambe.

Lambe had, in the process of examining the Investigating Police Officer (IPO) in the matter, tendered a statement which the defence counsel opposed as of no relevance to the matter.

The suit involved five suspects charged with alleged unlawful possession of firearms.

The police had charged the suspects, John Dindam, 40; Dindam Caleb,40; Lohsel Nanbul, 20; Bakfa Solomon, 30 and Danladi Binchak, 35, before Allagoa for conspiracy and unlawful possession of firearms.

They  were allegedly arrested on August 21, 2013 at Tunkus village in Mikang Local Government Area of Plateau with firearms, including one AK-47; 27 rounds of 7.62 mm live ammunitions and one 7.62 NATO ammunition.

Lambe, in her examination of the IPO who was her own witness, got stuck midway when the defence counsel, Mr Samuel Oguntayi, objected to a statement that she tendered.

In a bid to unravel the relevance of the statement to the case, the court began a "trial within trial" at the request of Oguntayi.

Oguntayi had argued that the statements were not obtained voluntarily and could not be relied upon in evidence as it would malign the reputation of the accused persons.

He demanded for a proof of their origin.

Lambe consequently urged the court for an adjournment to allow her put her house in order before returning.

In granting the adjournment, Allagoa cautioned the police prosecutor to be more serious in prosecuting criminal cases.

"I am not happy about the way police prosecutors are handling their cases in my court of recent.

“I feel bad seeing police that arrest suspects and bring them to court and yet not looking serious in prosecuting them.

"You should know that you are government employees and you are being paid to do the job. Therefore you should not come here and toy with the work but display some level of seriousness," he said.

"Always make sure you bring the IPO and the evidence keeper last so that you don’t face this kind of hiccups," he advised.

The matter was adjourned until May 7 for further hearing.

 - NAN

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