Court acquits, discharges journalist detained over WhatsApp comment

Posted by Garba Ahmed, Kaduna | 1 August 2017 | 1,475 times

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•Kaduna-based journalist Midat Joseph has no case to answer.

The Magistrate Court 1 sitting in Kaduna has dismissed the suit filed by Kaduna State Commissioner of Police against a Kaduna-based journalist, Midat Joseph.

Mr. Joseph, the state Bureau Chief of LEADERSHIP Newspaper, was arrested on Wednesday 19th April, 2017 and detained by the men of the Nigerian Police Force, the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and later released on bail by the same court after spending two nights with the police.

He was arrested over a comment on a WhatsApp platform group chat where he had contributed to a conversation.

He was detained on Wednesday, 19, at the metropolitan Police Station, Panteka, by the CID from where he was transferred to the Kaduna Police Command Headquarters and also held over night by the CID in their Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS) cell from where they were charged to court for prosecution.

‎According to the First Information Report (FIR) obtained by our reporter, Mr. Joseph and one other, were charged for criminal conspiracy, inciting disturbance and injurious false hold.

But, when the matter came up for hearing without the appearance of the prosecutors who had failed to appear in court for the first, second time, the presiding magistrate, Chief Magistrate‎ Emmanuel Yusuf stroke put the suit for lack of diligence prosecution.

The judge’s decision followed an application from the counsels to Midat, Barristers James Kanyip Esq and Maxwell Kyom Esq for the matter to be struck out as a result of non-appearance of the prosecutors.

Messrs James Kanyip and Maxwell Kyom who relied on section 165 of criminal procedure court law of Kaduna State, asked the court to strike out the suit. The counsels also asked for an order restraining the Police or it agent to arrest the Mr. Joseph on the same matter.

The judge, who however, declined to grant the restraining order, discharged and acquitted Mr. Joseph and one other of the offence they were accused of.

Reacting to the judgment, Mr. Joseph, who was in tears, expressed gratitude to God, the Southern Kaduna team of lawyers, the management and staff of LEADERSHIP Newspapers, his  colleagues, civic right organisation for standing in the his support during the period of his trials.

He expressed confidence in the judiciary, adding: “The judiciary is indeed the last hope of the common man. The lies against me have been buried and may the name of the Lord be praised.”

Source: News Express

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