Posted by News Express | 21 December 2018 | 834 times
Justice Kate Abiri, Chief Judge of Bayelsa, has declined an application to have the rape trial of Chief Richard Kpodo, a former Security Adviser to Ex-Governor Timipre Sylva, to another judge.
The ongoing trial of Kpodo, charged for rape of a 26-year-old cashier in Kpodo’s hotel, was on October 31 halted following an application by the accused to the chief judge.
The trial judge, Justice I Eradiri had in a reaction to the development ruled that the case is adjourned indefinitely to await the decision of the Chief Judge of Bayelsa.
At the resumed hearing on Friday, trial judge Justice Eradiri informed parties to the case that the Chief Judge had declined the request of the accused.
Eradiri ruled: “The Chief judge turned down to request made by the accused and the counsel to the accused, Julious Iyekoroghe approached this court with a motion on notice seeking that I disqualify myself from hearing the case.
“The motion had alleged that I am biased based on denial of bail application and the comments I made that the charge was a serious one and therefore an indication of bias.
“When bias is alleged, the issue to be examined is whether a reasonable person following the case will consider the judge biased, otherwise no judge will be able to conclude a trial as accused persons will endlessly allege bias.
“Haven examined the motion on notice and the response of the prosecution and conclude that the motion has no iota of merit and is hereby dismissed and the case is hereby adjourned to January 24 for defense.”
In his response, Iyekoroghe, counsel to the accused, thanked the judge for the decision and notified the court that the decision would be challenged at a higher court.
“We shall put this ruling to test at a higher level,” the defence counsel said.
Kpodo was on July 31, 2018 arraigned for alleged rape at High Court 7 after being earlier arraigned before a magistrates’ court in Yenagoa.
The victim had earlier testified alongside her uncle and a medical doctor who examined her on June 9, after she had been allegedly raped the previous day.
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