A federal high court on Friday, July 8, 2016 adjourned the case of the embattled former PDP spokesperson, Olisa Metuh, till Oct. 27 and Oct. 31.
The judge, Justice Okon Abang, while announcing the new date for the case at about 4:45 p.m said that the case had to be adjourned because he would not have judicial time to hear it.
“The matter was adjourned on July 4 to July 7 for continuation of trial at the instance of the parties but the Federal Government declared July 7 as a public holiday.
“I directed my secretary to call all the parties in the matter and inform them that the matter will be heard today. All the parties are in court including the defence witness.
“I have no judicial time to take this matter as the court has sat all day and the time is far spent.
“Today is the last day before the court’s vacation that will be commencing on July 11 so the matter will be heard after the vacation.”
Abang added that even though he was a vacation judge, the matter could not be heard during the vacation except with the consent of the parties.
Mr Onyeachi Ikpeazu (SAN), counsel to Metuh,said his team would prefer to rest during the vacation.
He said that they could not appear in court on July 7 because of the public holiday and that the day was already far spent. He said that they were willing to take a new date adding that the parties were, however, willing to comply with the directive of the court.
But the prosecuting counsel, Mr Sylvanus Tahir, said that the prosecution was willing to continue the matter during the vacation.
Tahir said that the argument that the case could not hold on July 7, which was the actual date it was adjourned to and so should be adjourned again, was not tenable.
“If a farmer was to go to the farm yesterday and it rained that won’t stop him from going to the farm the next day.
“Even though the court has been sitting all day, the defendants have expressed their desire to go on with the case.
“So, saying that because the matter was not heard on the actual day it was adjourned to because of the public holiday and so it should not go on today is not a good reason.”
Mr Tochukwu Onwubufo, SAN, a member of the defence team swiftly asked the court to discountenance the farmer argument canvassed by Tahir as to why the matter should not be adjourned.
Onwubufo said this was because the farmer was not bound by rules while the court had rules regulating its conduct.
“This farmer logic does not apply here as this court is guided by rules and regulations and so it is wrong to tell the court to disregard the point that July 7 was a public holiday.
“The declaration of the public holiday was a statement recognised by law,” he said.
Abang adjourned the matter till Oct. 27 and Oct. 30 for continuation of hearing of the defence’s case. The court would commence its vacation on July 11 to Sept. 12.
Hattip to Vanguard