Metro

Ikokwu Four: Absence Of Defendants Stall Trial 

The trial of four officers involved in the alleged torture of five Ikokwu mechanics was stalled on Tuesday at the court following their absence.

Although the case was mentioned in court, the defendants: Dayogu Fidelis, Eke Chibuzo, Egbunafu Felix and Sergeant Rose Georgewill all previously dismissed were not in court for the hearing.

The prosecuting counsel, Chidi Ekeh, had told the court that he did not know why the defendants were not in court for the hearing and had asked for a date for the next hearing.

It was however learnt the defendants were not in court  because of the ongoing protests in the city of  Port-Harcourt.

The presiding judge of the Port-Harcourt High Court, Justice Florence Fiberesima, before adjourning the case to the 9th and 10th of November said that the case would have an accelerated hearing.

In court for the proceedings were counsels to second and third defendants.

The case which had come up before the Chief Magistrate Court was later moved to the State High Court when it was taken over by Rivers State Government.

The four accused officers who are no longer members of the force were arraigned on a five-count charge bordering on murder and an act with intent to maim.

The accused officers pleaded not guilty to the charges.

One of the tortured mechanics, Chima Ikwunado, allegedly died in police detention and his death and the detention of the four others had sparked social media outrage with the hashtag #Ikokwu Four.

Ikwunado and the other four mechanics were arrested in December last year for allegedly driving against traffic and were being detained at Mile 1 Police Station.

The case was adjourned to October 20 for hearing.

After the adjournment at the time, the prosecuting counsel, Chidi Ekeh, had told reporters that it was the responsibility of the government to prosecute crime, saying that crimes were committed against the state and not against individuals.

Also at the time, the judge had said that the prosecuting counsel should make available all materials relied on in the case to the defence as one defence counsel had said that the defendants had  “right to fair hearing”.

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