Rape Trial: Ex-Bayelsa Governor’s aide appeals court ruling on allegations of bias against judge

Posted by News Express | 25 January 2019 | 923 times

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•Ex-aide to Ex-Governor Sylva, Richard Kpodo

Chief Richard Kpodo, former aide to Ex-Governor Timippre Sylva, standing trial for alleged rape of a 26-year-female cashier, has appealed a court ruling on his allegations against trial judge.

Justice Kate Abiri, Chief Judge of Bayelsa, had declined an application brought by Kpodo to have his for alleged rape to another judge.

Counsel to the accused, Julius Iyekoroghe, on December 21, 2018 approached Justice I. Eradiri with a motion on notice urging the judge to disqualify himself from hearing the case, alleging that the judge was biased.

Eradiri had dismissed the motion and adjourned to January for the Defense team in the case to enter defense on the case.

At the resumed trial on Thursday Kpodo’s defense team led by E.J. Okere told the court they had filed an appeal against the ruling on their allegation of bias by Eradiri and hence could not enter defense.

“We applied to you to disqualify yourself from the trial on grounds of bias and our application was refused, so we appealed against that ruling, we will also file a stay of proceeding at the higher court.

“In view of the appeal before a higher court, we cannot enter defense at this moment,” Okere said.

Objecting to the moves to stall proceedings, Andrew Arthur, Prosecuting Counsel said the court should not stay its proceedings just because an appeal has been filed adding that the court should proceed on the case.

In another twist the defense team objected to the appearance of Authur who was recently appointed as Commissioner for Special Services in Bayelsa. Okere submitted that Arthur who initiated the prosecution in August 2018 under a fiat issued by Attorney-General of Bayelsa Mr Kemesode Wodu which does not cover the present office of Arthur as a Commissioner.

Responding, Arthur said that he was under no disability to continue appearances as his appointment letter was explicit that his present office has no prejudice to his office as Special Prosecutor on Violent Crimes.

The judge adjourned the case to January 31 for ruling on the objections raise by the defence team. 

Source: News Express

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