A confused police witness indicted himself with his video played during hearing in the case between the chairman of George Uboh Whistleblower Network (GUWN), Dr. George Uboh and the governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele.
Wednesday’s proceeding was a continuation of the Trial Within Trial (TWT) which commenced on Monday, June 22.
The trial judge, Justice Yusuf Halilu had ordered for a TWT after the whistleblower accused the police of obtaining statement from him under duress.
To ascertain the veracity of the claim, Justice Halilu ordered that Trial Within Trial be conducted.
On Monday, the Prosecution counsel told the court that he has a video to show that Mr. Uboh gave his statement voluntarily.
The court granted the Prosecution permission to show the video footage to the court and video was shown today.
THE WHISTLEBLOWER DEFENCE COUNSEL BEGINS ON FIERY NOTE
The day began with the lead defence counsel, Mr. Idumodin Ogumu, Esq. rejecting the video and a document which were only served him Tuesday evening.
Mr. Ogumu, raising objection over the files served yesterday, said he needed time to study and respond accordingly.
After several minutes of heated exchange between Justice Halilu and Barrister Ogumu, the judge prevailed on him and the studio was set.
In the video, which seems deliberately distorted, Uboh was seen writing in what seems like a paper and there it ends.
The contents were so heavily blurred that the write-up was ultimately missing, hence impossible to decipher.
Also, the audio part of the video was totally lacking.
Under cross-examination by the prosecution counsel, the Trial Within Trial Witness 1(TWTW 1), Superintendent of Police, Stanley explained that he used his Samsung phone to record the process of statement taking.
He added that accused was cautioned, wrote voluntarily, in an air conditioned office and that three officers were present.
After the video was played in court, TWTW 1 noted that Uboh made his statement only once.
FRAUDULENT VIDEO EXPOSED
The defence counsel then mounted the podium and mesmerised the TWTW 1.
At the onset he begged him not to lie to the court after ascertaining from him that he is a Christian.
Citing a Bible quotation, he told him: “Do not bear false witness”, to which the TWTW 1 acquiesced.
“Can you read contents of the “statement” purportedly signed by my client?” he asked.
“No, it’s not readable,” was the response.
“What happened at the station?” asked the defence counsel”
“The accused refused to give statement without his lawyers,” answered TWTW 1.
“How could you say the whistleblower gave statement voluntarily and now contradict yourself saying he refused to give statement,” roared Idumodin”. No response.
“Did he get a lawyer on 15th of May, 2019?” Negative.
“Did you grant him bail?” Negative. “I served him bail condition.”
“Did you release him afterwards?” Negative.
“Did you release him?” Negative.
“On the 16th: Did you grant him bail? Negative. “He didn’t meet bail condition.”
“19th?” “Yes, and he made statement”.
“How can you explain that someone refused to make statement for 4 days, the suddenly made one “voluntarily?”
“Did you mention Emefiele to the whistleblower on 15,16,17,18,19th?” “Yes.”
“Was Emefiele or any staff of the Central Bank of Nigeria there when he made statement?” “No.”
Defense counsel asserted to him that statement was made on May 15 and provided back-up details. Confusion. Then TWTW 1 denies.
“Do you know a man came and took Mr. George Uboh on bail?” Negative.
“Do you know DIG Ogbizi overruled and denied him bail?” Negative.
“Is there a date on the video?” Negative.
“I put it to you that video was made May 15.” Refutes.
“You did not film it?” Negative.
“You’re are not in the video.” Negative.
“How many minutes was the video?” “Some seconds,” was the answer.
“For how many minutes was the statement taken?” “About ten minutes.”
“Did you capture the whole moment?” “No.”
“Did you deliberately omit anything?” Negative.
“Where is the Samsung phone?” “It’s with me, my personal property,” answered TWTW 1.
“Play it to the court.” Judge overrules
COURT WINDS UP
When it became apparent that TWTW 1 could not defend the video and has nothing peculiar to offer in defence, the judge called it a day.
The court adjourned to June 2 for further hearing of Trial Within Trial.