Barr. Joseph Ogbuka, counsel to the accused persons standing trial over the alleged murder of the Chief Nurse, Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Enugu, Mrs. Maria Amadi, on Thursday, asked the court to quash the charge.
News Express learnt that three of the deceased’s co-staff were arraigned and remanded in prison custody by the court.
At the last sitting, the case was adjourned till yesterday (Thursday) for Ogbuka to move his motion asking the Court, presided over by the State’s Chief Judge, Justice Priscilla Emehelu to quash the information filed by the police and discharge the accused persons.
While moving the motion dated June 10, 2019 and filed on June 13, 2019, brought pursuant to Section 6 (a) and (b) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Ogbuka prayed the Court for an order quashing the information filed and preferred against the accused persons in the case for want of uncontradictory evidence or any prima facie evidence in connection with the alleged offence.
He told the court: “The applicants before you are senior staff of the Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Enugu; they occupy the office of the principal and Vice principal of a school in the hospital.
“They are charged not because of any fact whatsoever linking them to the alleged offence of murder of the deceased but simply because of a pre-existing misunderstanding between their office and the office of the deceased.
“Outside this misunderstanding, there is nothing else, no other fact in support of the incarceration of these citizens. And the Nigeria Police Force here in Enugu, State CID, after a holistic and detailed investigation to unavoidable conclusion that all the applicants have nothing whatsoever, that there is nothing to warrant a decision to charge them to court.
“But in the circumstances, they alleged that in view of the pressure on them, they decided to charge them to court and let the court decide. The said investigation report is already before the court.”
He added that from the police report, the deceased who did not die immediately after the gunshot, said “she was attacked by about 4 young boys in a blue-golf car right in front of her residence at Trans-Ekulu, Enugu. In her words, the said boys were unknown to her.
“The police based the charge on the alleged dying declaration of the deceased. The said dying declaration was made by the deceased in the presence of nurses, doctors and a police woman. The police gathered the statements of all these people and they never said the deceased told them that the accused persons killed her.
“It is only in the husband’s statement, the second statement for that matter that he said the nurses told him that the wife said so.
“May also inform the Court that there is another affidavit before this court which shows that real culprits who killed the deceased are now with the police. They have been arrested with the involvement of a team from the Force Criminal Investigation Department and they have detailed confession on how they carried out the act.
“So, in totality, it is obvious that the proof of evidence in support of this charge has not disclosed any uncontradictory charge linking the accused persons.
“I want the court to quash the information filed against them and discharge the accused persons.”
Barr. A.D. Igwenagu, the counsel to the 3rd accused person, aligned himself with the arguments of the 1st and 2nd defendants’ counsel.
However, the State Counsel, E.C. Ugwu said he was vehemently opposing the motion for quashing the charge.
Ugwu told the Court that he already filed a counter affidavit deposed to by one Chijoke Nnaji, as well as a written address where he canvassed that there was enough proof of evidence for the case to be heard.
“At this stage of proceedings, the business of the court is to find out if prima facie case exists by looking at the proof of evidence filed in this matter.
“In doing so, other processes do not count; they are of no moment at this stage; the court is under one obligation to look at the proof of evidence and no other thing. There are specific areas in the proof of evidence pointing to the accused persons requiring their explanation,” he said.
He referred the court to the dying declaration of the deceased and argued that it supports the proof of evidence.
“People have been named and they have to explain; there is very strong prima facie case linking the defendants as charged.
“The application has no merit; we urge you to dismiss same,” the State Counsel further prayed the court.
The judge adjourned the case to July 31, 2019 for ruling.