23 Nov 2016

El-Rufai Vs Journalist: Festus Okoye Takes Over Defence As Prosecution Adds Fresh Charges

A fresh charge has been added to the case against Kaduna based journalist, Jacob Onjewu Dickson  which was filed by the Kaduna State Commissioner of Police on April 29, 2016 before Magistrate Emmanuel Yusuf.

The old First Information Report (FIR) contained only two-count charges bordering on False Personation and Inciting Disaffection to
the Government of Kaduna State.

Prosecution Counsel, led by Kaduna State Director of Public Prosecution, Dari Bayero had at the last session appealed to the
Magistrate to substitute the previous FIR with two-count charges with
the latest which had an additional charge of Criminal Defamation of
Character  added.

His plea was granted by the Magistrate and the accused who was not represented by a counsel at that seating, could not object the substitution.

At the last appearance on Tuesday November 22, legendary human rights lawyer,  Barrister Festus Okoye  took over the defense for the accused from Barrister Timothy Bonnet who technically withdrew from the case by failing to appear for session.

When the matter was called up, the prosecution was absent and the case had been adjourned tentatively for January 16, 2017.

In an interview with newsmen outside the court room, Festus Okoye who
was represented by Barrister Mohammed Kabiru Abdullahi  said that his
initial instinct was to call for the case to be struck out as a result
of the absence of the prosecution but he was later informed that
Bayero had taken excuse that he would be absent as at when the matter
was called.

However, journalists who were at the court before proceedings commenced said that he was spotted within the premises earlier on.

It would be recalled that Dickson was invited for a meeting  with the Kaduna State Commissioner of Police on April 28, 2016 by 9am from where he was detained all day at the State Intelligence Bureau before being transferred to a Police cell same night.

The following morning, he was said to have been hurriedly arraigned and sent to the Kaduna Convict Prison where he spent seven days before
he was granted bail.

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