Senator Dino Melaye (APC, Kogi West)
The trial of the Senator Dino Melaye (APC, Kogi) on the charge of false information dissemination before an FCT High Court has been adjournedsine die.
The trial judge, Justice Olasumbo Goodluck adjourned the trial sine die (indefinitely) following the confirmation by the National Hospital, Abuja that Melaye was on admission at the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the hospital.
Melaye’s counsel, Ricky Tarfa (SAN), in an application to justify the absence of the senator in court, told the court that his client was still lying critically ill at the National Hospital. He tendered a medical report signed by the hospital’s Director of Medical Services, Dr. O. O. Olaniran, which confirmed that the senator was being managed at the hospital’s ICU.
Tarfa therefore urged the judge to consider the ill health of the defendant as a special circumstance that warranted his absence from trial. He urged the court to adjourn the trial pending the time his client would recuperate from the sickness and be able to stand before the court to answer the two-count criminal charge against him.
However, prosecution counsel, Shuaib Labaran opposed the request for the adjournment on the ground that there was no fact before the court that Melaye was arrested by the police and got injured in the process. He said Melaye’s counsel relied on media report on his claim of police arrest of his client and urged the court to discountenance the claim. He also said the medical report brought by the defendant was not admissible in evidence because it was not a certified true copy of the original.
However, in her ruling, Justice Goodluck held that from the gamut of the entire facts placed before the court, the prosecution did not controvert the fact that the defendant was in the National Hospital’s ICU. She held that the photocopy of the medical report was admissible in an interlocutory application as in the instance case and therefore rejected the submissions of the prosecution.
Melaye was arraigned on March 1 by the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) on a two-count charge for allegedly giving false information to the police to incriminate the Chief of Staff to Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State, Edward Onoja David, as the mastermind of the said assassination attempt on him.
He was also alleged to have given false statement of facts in a phone conversation with Mohammed Abubakar, son of the late former governor of Kogi State, Abubakar Audu, with the intention of harming the reputation of David. He pleaded not guilty to the offences.