The trial of the Senator Dino Daniel Melaye (Kogi West Senatorial District) for alleged false information dissemination before the Federal Capital Territory, High Court, Abuja, by the Federal Government, on Thursday suffered a setback following his absence in Court.
Consequently, presiding judge, Justice Olasunbo Goodluck adjourned the trial indefinitely after listening to the prosecution and defense counsel arguments on Melaye absence.
The judge 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 Intensive Care Unit.
Justice Goodluck said that the photocopy of the medical report showing that Melaye is on admission at the hospital is admissible in an interlocutory application as in the instance case and therefore she rejected the submissions of the prosecution.
The judge further held that it is fair and just for the court to examine all facts placed before it and that in doing so, it has been established that the defendant is having health challenges in the hospital.
The judge, therefore, adjourned the case sine die pending the recovery of the senator from the sickness so that he can stand trial.
Dino who would have appeared to face his trial Thursday, was transferred from Lokoja to the hospital by the Chief Judge of Kogi State, where he is facing another criminal charge for alleged arms running after he was implicated by two thugs.
But , at the resumed sitting Thursday, Melaye’s lead counsel, Mr. Rickey Tarfa (SAN), in an application to justify the absence of the senator informed the court that his client was still lying critically ill at the intensive Care Unit of the National Hospital.
The senior lawyer tendered a medical report signed by Dr O O Olaniran, Director of Medical Services, which confirmed that the senator was being managed at the Intensive Care Unit.
Tarfa therefore urged the judge, Justice Olasunbo Goodluck to consider the ill health of the lawmaker 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, counsel to the Federal Government, Mr Shuaib Labaran, vehemently opposed the application for adjournment on the ground that there was no fact before the court to show that Melaye was arrested by the police and got injured in the process.
Labaran who is from the Federal Ministry of Justice insisted that counsel to Melaye relied on media report in his claim of police arrest of his client and urged the court to discountenance the claim.
Besides, Labaran faulted the medical report from the National Hospital, claiming that it was not admissible in evidence because it was not a certified true copy of the original.
He also claimed that a counsel from Rickey Tarfa’s chambers who deposed to the affidavit on the request for adjournment was not a medical officer and therefore not in position to ascertain the health condition of the senator.
It should be recalled that Federal Government had on March 1 slammed a two-count criminal charge against Melaye on the allegation that he gave false report to the police in the alleged attempt by some people to assassinate him in Kogi State.