Court reopens Metuh’s case, orders FG to arraign lawyer, 3 Channels TV staff

Posted by Wandoo Sombo | 3 July 2018 | 1,911 times

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•Olisa Metuh

The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has ordered the Federal Government to arraign a legal practitioner, Mr Ben-Chuks Nwosu and three members of staff of the Channels Television, Chamberlain Usoh, Gimba Umar and Nneota Egbe.

They are to be arraigned for participating and anchoring a programme on the station, “Sunrise Daily” where it was alleged that contemptuous and prejudicial questions and comments were made by Nwosu, who is one of Metuh’s lawyers.

The judge, Justice Okon Abang gave the order while delivering a ruling after listening to the unedited video of the programme in open court.

Abang ordered that they should be arraigned in any court of  within the jurisdiction of the court under Section 134(4) of the Criminal Code.

He said they should be arraigned for the court to determine whether questions asked by the three anchors and the comments by Nwosu were not contemptuous and misleading to the public.

Abang held that upon arraignment, the court shall determine whether Channels TV had not made prejudicial statement thereby misleading the public, and distorting the facts of the case for selfish interest.

He gave the Federal Government 30 days to comply with the order.

“Federal Government shall within 30 days, file an affidavit of compliance. I cannot order arraignment of Ojogbane because I did not see his face, and his picture was not used. I only heard a voice, and it is risky to speculate.”

The judge ordered Oluyemisi Ipaye, Senior Manager News and Programmes, Channels TV to within 7 days from July 3, file 10 copies of the transcript of questions asked by the anchors of the programme.

He also asked Ipaye to file 10 copies of the DVD showing questions asked by the anchors and comments made by Nwosu and Ojogbane.

Justice Abang asked the prosecution to within 10 days, refer the matter to the Disciplinary Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA).

He said this was for the NBA to determine whether the comments made by Nwosu on the programme were in violation of Rules 33 of Rules of Professional Conduct of Legal Practitioners 2007.

The court further directed that the defence and prosecuting counsel should meet with the management of Channels TV to agree that the transcript represents questions asked and answers gotten.

Justice Abang also reopened the case of Metuh to enable him to testify personally and to also call two additional witnesses.

The judge vacated the order made on May 25 closing Metuh’s case saying the order was made in default because Metuh’s counsel was not heard.

Justice Abang, however, warned Metuh not to cause any unpleasant scene or fall in the courtroom again adding that the proceedings shall be on a daily basis.

He adjourned the matter until July 4 for the defence to call its remaining witnesses. (NAN)


Source: News Express

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