Court halts Peace Corps commandant’s trial

Peter Bahago, Abuja


A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has halted the trial of the National Commandant of the Peace Corp of Nigeria, PCN Mr Dickson Akor indefinitely.

Thirteen count criminal charges were brought against him by the Nigerian Police.

Justice John Tsoho stopped the trial following the refusal of the Police to carry out its earlier order to unseal the Head Office of the Corp which was closed since February 28, 2017.

He held that the police as an institution established by law must not be seen “breaking laws and disregarding court orders and judgment with impunity.”

Disobeying the law
The judge said it was wrong of the police to have chosen to disobey two judgements of the court which directed it to unseal the office in the year.

Justice Tsoho agreed with the defence counsel, John Ochogwu that Mr Akor as a defendant in the charges had been disadvantaged in preparing for his defence in the charges against him as required by law.

The court held that the police have breached the Nigerian constitution by refusing to give the defendant adequate time to prove his innocence in the charges by sealing up the office where the materials for defence are kept.

The judge said that the Nigerian Police which relied heavily on speedy trial must be seen adhering strictly to the rule of law and natural justice by ensuring that the defendant was not deny opportunities to defend himself.

“It has often been said that justice is not for one party but for all including the state. In the instance case police cannot be said to be fair and just to the defendant by sealing up of the office where the defence materials could be obtain and at the same time demanding for speedy trial by the court,” the court held.

Confidence Okwuchi