The Federal High Court in Abuja on Wednesday fined the Federal Government of Nigeria the sum of N200,000 for causing delay of Omoyele Sowore’s trial for nothing.
Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu who described the trial’s request for the adjournment as ‘frivolous and uncalled for’, adjourned the trial till Thursday.
She warned that the proceedings would not continue if the prosecution do not present evidence of the payment of the N200,000 to the defence or come to court with the cash on Thursday.
The prosecuting counsel, Kayode Alilu, from the office of the Attorney General of the Federation, had told the court that the amendment of the charges followed the taking over of the case from the Department of State Services in December.
He asked for an adjournment to effect the service on the defence.
Defence lawyer, Olayinka Olumide-Fusika (SAN), opposed that the prosecution were not prepared for trial and urged the court to strike out the charges.
He said the prosecution’s request for an adjournment was frivolous and an indication of their lack of diligence in the prosecution of the case.
But Alilu opposed the application for the striking out of the charges.
He cited Section 396 (5) of Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2011 which he said grants parties in a criminal case to ask for an adjournment up to five times in the course of the trial, adding that the prosecution had yet to exhaust the five times.
The judge in a ruling refused to cancel the case but awarded N200, 000 cost against the prosecution and in favour of the defence.