A Federal Capital Territory High Court sitting in Maitama, Abuja on Tuesday discharged Senator Dino Melaye from a two count charge of giving false information to the police against David Onoja, the former Chief of Staff to Kogi State Governor.
The charge was instituted against him by the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF).
Melaye was prosecuted on a 2-count charge bordering on giving false information to the police to incriminate David Onoja as the mastermind of an alleged assassination attempt on his life.
Melaye’s counsel Mr Olusegun Jolaawo, SAN had filed a no-case-submission when the prosecution closed its case.
Delivering ruling on the no-case -submission, Justice Olasumbo Goodluck held that there was no evidence that the defendant gave false information to any person in public service.
The Judge described the evidence given by a government witness, Mr Edward Onoja as “vague and.unreliable”
Justice Goodluck held that “Neither of the two witnesses elicited evidence on the status of Mohammed Abubaker Audu.
“There is lack of evidence on the nature of the status of employment or if at all he is employed not to talk of him being engaged in public service,” she said.
“I am also inclined to allude to the submissions of the defence counsel that there is no statement before the court allegedly made by the defendant to one who is in the public service.
“This being the case, the first ingredients of the offence upon which count one is predicated has not been proved to the court.
“Similarly, the second element of the count has not been proven by the prosecution” Goodluck held.
The judge held that the prosecution failed to present the audio recording of the conversation between Melaye and Audu, nor was an audio expert engaged to ascertain the identities of the persons in phone conversation.
Justice Goodluck held further that no staff of Sahara reporters, the online medium which allegedly released the audio conversation, was called to testify.
The judge also held that no investigative police officer was called to prove that indeed a report was lodged against the defendant.
“It is no longer uncertain that a court does not rely on speculations and suspicions from any material evidence.
“No audio recording of the telephone conversation between the defendant and Mohammed Abubakar was presented at trial.
“All we are left with is the hearsay evidence of the existence of the statement as recounted by the witnesses.
“Besides, the prosecution failed to call for evidence, the Sahara reporter to establish through his staff that the Sahara Reporters recorded a telephone conversation involving the defendant and another.
“In effect, there is no credible and cogent evidence of any Sahara Report’s recording before this court.
“In the light of the foregoing consequences, I am of the view and will so hold that the defendant ought to be discharged as there is no reason to convict him in the circumstances.
“He is accordingly discharged on account of the fact that the no-case-submission succeeds” Justice Goodluck held
Melaye was alleged to have in April, 2017, deliberately given false information to police to incriminate David Onoja, then Chief of Staff to Kogi State governor, as masterminding an assassination attempt on him.
Melaye was also alleged to have given false statement of facts in a phone conversation with Mr Mohammed Abubakar, son of former governor of the state, Abubakar Audu, with the intention of harming the reputation of Onoja.
He however, denied committing the offence punishable under Sections 140 and 393 of the Penal Code Law, Cap. 89, Laws of Northern Nigeria, 1963.