Sexual Assault: Court Reserves Ruling on Motion to Release Ndifon’s Phones

0
115

By Kenneth Atavti

The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has reserved a ruling on the motion asking for the court to release the telephones of Professor Cyril Ndifon to a purported National Computer Forensic Laboratory.

Professor Cyril Ndifon, a suspended Dean of the Faculty of Law, University of Calabar, and Barrister Anyanwu are being tried by ICPC before Justice James Omotosho over alleged sexual misconduct and attempt to perverse the cause of justice contrary to sections 8, 18, and 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000 and Section 182 of the Penal Code Cap. 532 Laws of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, 2006.

At the resumed hearing , counsel to the two defendants, Mr. Joe Agi SAN informed the court about the two motions the defendants/applicants filed before it.

He held that given the nature of the motion dated and filed on the 15th of March, 2024, it should take precedence over the one filed on the 8th of March, 2024.

The first motion filed on the 8th of March, 2024 hinged on the application for the release of the first defendant’s (Ndifon) phones to a purported National Computer Forensic Laboratory while the second motion, filed on the 15th of March, 2024 prayed that the amended charge against the defendants be dismissed on the ground that the prosecution counsel’s name “is not on the roll of legal practitioners in Nigeria”.

He said, “It is our submission that where the issue of jurisdiction is raised in any proceedings, it takes precedence over any other motion particularly when it has to do with the integrity of the profession and administration of justice. The motion of 15th of March, 2024 has become a life wire and the motion of 8th of March, 2024 is not useful particularly when there’s no counter affidavit.

While responding, the counsel to the ICPC, Dr. Osuobeni Ekoi Akponimisingha told the court that the motion filed by the defendants/applicants on the 15th of March, 2024 was not ripe for hearing whether it has precedent or not on the one filed on 8th of March, 2024.

“The prosecution was served with a motion dated 15th day of March 2024 on Friday at about 4:09 pm after the close of work. This motion is not ripe, whether it has precedence is immaterial because I have the right to respond to the served motion. We have reacted to the motion dated 8th of March, 2024 and the prosecution is willing and ready to take the argument on that Sir.”

Justice J.K Omotosho, after listening to the arguments ruled that the motion on the 8th of March, 2024 would be heard first.
While speaking on the application dated on file on the 8th day of March 2024, counsel to the defendants/applicants, Joe Agi, SAN informed that a counter affidavit on the motion had been received and a reply on the point of law had been filed.

He therefore prayed that the affidavit filed by the defendants/applicants be granted.

The prosecution on its part prayed the court to dismiss the application of the defendants saying “It is contained in our affidavit that the court cannot make orders in doubt as there is no such laboratory called National Computer Forensic Laboratory.

The party asking the court to do a particular thing is under an obligation to guide the court so that the court would not give a ruling for the registry to take it there and there is no such laboratory.”

The judge thereafter adjourned the trial to the 15th of April, 2024 for a ruling on the motion.