By Edoamaowo Udeme
Trial of the alleged October 1, 2010 bombing in Abuja, Charles Okah before the federal high court sitting in Abuja was on Tuesday stalled, following the absence of the defence counsel, Mr. Festus Keyamo, in court.
At the resumed trial of the case before Justice Gabriel Kolawole, the prosecution counsel, Dr. Alex Izinyon (SAN) informed the court that the matter was slated for commencement of trial and that he was ready to call his first witness.
Defence counsel, John Ainetor, who have been representing the accused persons on behalf of Festus Keyamo since June 2013, told the court that they have a letter informing the court that Keyamo want to personally conduct the trial.
He said the letter was based on section 36 (c) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) which states that an accused has right to choose a lawyer of his choice. He said, however, that Keyamo was not in court because he was honouring Supreme Court invitation to appear before the Legal Practitioners Privilege Committee.
Ainetor urged the court to grant an adjournment because Keyamo will bring to bear his wealth of experience the moment witness is call. His request was vehemently opposed by Dr. Alex Izinyon (SAN) who noted that the antecedents created by the defence counsel can not avail them the request because Keyamo had appeared in case once since 2011 when the matter began.
Izinyon (SAN) said the defence counsel have shown bad fate that they are not prepared for the matter except to frustrate the trial.
In his ruling, Justice Kolawole said his is granting the adjournment because of the nature of the alleged crime. He said it is important to dis abuse the minds of the accused persons that the federal high court is being used to persecute them. He adjourned the trial till 7th October,2014.
It would be recalled that on June 9 the court had overruled Charles Okah’s request for an Independent Private Medical Examiner, even as the prosecution counsel accused the defence that their series of applications and appeals have hindered the trial from progressing into hearing and calling of witnesses.