The trial of Senator Dino Melaye, who represents Kogi West in the senate, was on Tuesday stalled due to the absence of the prosecution counsel, Shuaibu Labaran, and a prosecution witness.
Melaye is facing trial at Federal High Court in Maitama, Abuja, for allegedly providing false information to the public regarding an assassination attempt against him.
The senator was arraigned by the Federal Government through the office of the Attorney General of the Federation(AGF).
At the start of proceeding, the prosecution counsel represented by Abubakar Mustapha, told the court that the matter was for cross examination.
He pleaded with the court that the matter cannot proceed as there is a communication gap between him and the lead counsel, Labaran, who was absent.
He also told the court about the absence of the prosecution witness who was to be cross-examined today by the defence counsel.
He prayed the court to adjourn the case.
Reacting, the defence counsel, Olusegun Jolaawo, opposed the motion for adjournment sought by the prosecution, arguing:
“On January 18, this matter came up with the same excuse.
“The reason the matter could not go on that day was that the same witness was absent in court and no tenable reason was given.
“This is the second time on record that a witness who is in the box is absent from court.
“The witness has an obligation to make himself available on every adjourned date, whether court sits or not, until your lordship orders his discharge.
“We could not carry out cross-examination majorly because he is absent from court.”
Jolaawo further stated that “section 215 of the Evidence Act further clarifies on the issue of the order and direction of examination, by stating in the following subsections:
Witnesses shall be first (examined-in-chief), then if any other party so desires, cross-examined, then if the party that called him so desires, re-examined.”
According to Jolaawo, this section of Evidence Act gives them the right to cross-examine a witness.
After listening to both parties, the presiding judge, Olasumbo Goodluck, granted the prayer of the prosecution and adjourned the case to July 3, 4 and 10.
Justice Goodluck however stated that it is the last time she would be adjourning the case.