The police yesterday failed to commence leading evidence in the murder trial of Maryam Sanda following the decision of the first witness to leave the courtroom before he was called.
Police prosecutor, CSP James Idachaba told the court that at least two of the prosecution’s witnesses were in court and that he was ready to proceed with the hearing subject to the convenience of the court.
However, Maryam’s counsel, Joseph Daudu (SAN) told the court of a pending application, which he said was seeking an order of the court to declare that the charge against the defendants was incompetent, null and void and as such should be quashed. He also asked the court through the application to order the police to grant the defendants “unhindered access to all materials relevant to the case.”
He listed the materials to include: the coroner’s report on the death of the deceased (Bilyamin Bello); original copies of all photographs taken during investigation; alleged weapons used in the commission of the alleged offence (knife and broken pieces of ceramic plates) and the clothes with blood stains. He said the defendants needed to call forensic experts to inspect these materials for preparation of their defence.
Idachaba however opposed the application, urging the court to dismiss it. He said the motion and the reliefs sought “Are hopelessly jaundiced and lack merit as they are only a ploy to delay the trial.”
Justice Yusuf Halilu however held that the court would reserve ruling on the application to be delivered at the end of the substantive matter. He thereafter called the prosecution to commence with the case by calling its first witness.
At this point, Idachaba announced the name of the witness as one Alhassan Abdulmumini but told the court that the witness, who had been in court when the matter started, was now nowhere to be found. He said it must have been because of the way the proceeding was going with the arguments for and against the defendants’ application.
Efforts to locate the witness by court officials, who went outside the courtroom to search for him proved abortive. The judge thereafter adjourned the case to April 19 and 20, but warned the prosecutor to be serious with the case, adding that it was improper for a witness to leave the courtroom when the court had not discharged such.
“We are faced with a hopeless situation. The witness meant to be called has left the court,” the judge held.