By CrossRiverWatch admin
Following the accelerated hearing granted by the Court in Suit No. HC/2C/2016 between The State vs. Dismissed DSP Horsefall & 13 Others, trial of the suit had continued since Monday 29th February, 2016 through Wednesday 2nd March, 2016 and now adjourned to Friday 11th March, 2016 for continuation of hearing.
The dismissed police officers are standing trial for the extra judicial killing of one Derek Maurice Ben and five others and subsequently tagging the deceased armed robbers.
The case which is pending at the High Court of Cross River State, Calabar is now presided over by the Hon. Justice Obojor Ogar (of High Court No.4, Calabar) following the recent transfer of the case from High Court No. 2, Calabar (presided over by Hon. Justice Michael Edem) on alleged suspicion of bias disposition.
The recent adjournment was at the instance of one of the defense counsel who prayed the court for an adjournment, saying that by attending the case for three days consecutively, “other matters are suffering”.
DETAILS OF THE ACCELERATED HEARING
Monday, 29th February 2016
The Prosecuting Witness two (PW2), Bassey Eyo-Mkpang was cross examined by the defense ccounsel. Bassey gave a graphic and illuminating testimony of how he was arrested alongside some other persons at Akpabuyo by some of the accused and taken to the Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS) Cross River State Police Command, Diamond Hill Calabar where he met late Derek Maurice Ben also in detention under the custody of the accused.
He further testified that it was while in SARS detention that Derek was taken with five others out of the cell by some of the accused and never came back.
There was however, a heated argument when the written statement PW 2 made in SARS’s office was nowhere to be found when demanded by the court.
The defending counsel accused the prosecuting counsel of concealing evidence that is necessary for determining the case.
In response, the prosecution counsel said that the accused should provide the statement, since they took it, and no mention of it was made in their official report.
Tuesday, 1 March 2016
The learned presiding judge had entertained arguments for the bail application filed by the accused persons.
The defense counsel argued that the accused should be granted bail, as some of them were sick and needed to see their doctors.
They also argued that, the prosecution has not tendered enough evidence to keep their clients in the cell as the mere tag of “murder” should not be made to be a “magic wand”.
After an extensive court session, the case was adjourned to the following day.
Wednesday, 2 March 2016
The prosecuting counsel called their 3rd witnessed, Mbachu Nnemeka, owner of the Kia Picanto car allegedly used for the robbery attack by six of the deceased including Derek, and whose driver was also killed.
Nnemeka testified that after not seeing his car he reported a case of missing vehicle to the police, but was later told by another friend that his car was seen in SARS office, Diamond Hill.
“I reached out to SARS and was told that my car had been used for robbery”. According to him, he was asked to write a statement which he did.
He said he was later contacted and asked to write another statement with one of the accused, dictating to him.
Furthering that in this new statement, he was instructed by the accused to write that his car was stolen from him and he didn’t know who his driver was.
After much protesting, he succumbed to the pressure knowing fully what the police are capable of, the witness stated.
Mbachu revealed that he later summoned courage and went to SARS another day demanding to know why he was made to write that statement but this time he had his phone secretly recording all their conversations.
Continuing, the PW3 said he was later invited to Zone 6 when the police AIG was conducting further investigation into the matter and he told them all he knew.
The case is a high profile murder case keenly followed by members of the public and the press and it is now adjourned to March 11, 2016 by 9am for further hearing.
Meanwhile, the court is yet to give a ruling one way or the other on the bail application of the accused persons.
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