Farah Dagogo: Court Adjourns To May 20 To Rule On Bail Application

…Defendant Pleads Not Guilty To Two-Count Charge

A Port-Harcourt High Court has adjourned till May 20 to rule on a bail application by counsel to federal lawmaker, Hon. Farah Dagogo, who represents Degema/Bonny Federal Constituency and currently facing trial.

Presiding judge of the court, Honourable Justice C. Nwogu, adjourned after heated argument by both prosecuting and defence counsel.

Before adjourning on Monday, May 16, the presiding judge ruled that the defendant, Hon. Dagogo, be remanded in the Port-Harcourt Correctional Centre pending the determination of the application.

Honourable Justice Nwogu also ruled that the defendant be taken to the Rivers State Teaching Hospital for treatment until he could be fit to face trial.

Rivers State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Prof. Zacchaeus Adangor (SAN), led the prosecution team on behalf of the state government while the lead defence counsel led the defence team.

According to them, the bail application was made before plea was taken.

On Monday, the federal lawmaker was brought to court in a wheelchair and was also handcuffed.

His case was called at 9:20am as he was wheeled to the dock to take the plea.

The judge asked if he could take the plea.

When the two counts were read to him, the defendant pleaded not guilty to both of them.

One of the counts said that the defendant allegedly conspired with others at large to commit felony and alleged possession of firearms on April 27 at State Secretariat of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) during screening exercise while the other count said that the defendant tried to cause panic threatening violence while screening was taking place at the state secretariat of the party.

The prosecuting counsel who is also the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice made application that the case be adjourned and the defendant be remanded in Port-Harcourt Correctional Centre pending his trial but the lead defence counsel said that a bail application was before the court and had asked the court to consider the bail application.

However, the prosecuting counsel said it would be inappropriate to consider the bail application since it was filed before plea was taken.

The defence counsel however asked the court to discountenance all submissions made by the prosecution saying they were not borne out of law.

At a point, the defence counsel said that the court should not be intimidated to which the prosecution objected saying that it was an insult to the court and asked for apology.

Responding, the defence counsel cited what transpired at Supreme Court but the presiding judge while addressing the court said that lawyers should be mindful of their utterances.

Speaking with reporters, Prof. Adangor said: “His lead counsel sought to move a bail application and I informed the court that I have a right to respond to that bail application and there was a heated argument. The court has adjourned for ruling on that argument as to whether or not the State has a right to reply to the bail application because it was served on us before plea was taken”.

Also speaking with reporters, one of the counsels to the defendant, Emmanuel Rukari, said: “We were in court this morning firstly in respect of a bail application we filed.  Our client Hon. Doctor Farah Dagogo was arraigned this morning. My Lord in his discretion has adjourned the matter for ruling over issues that were raised”.

The counsel said that the bail application was filed before the defendant was arraigned saying that the prosecution argued that it could not have been served when he had not been arraigned.

He said his client was “down in hell” while responding to question on medical condition of his client.

Hon. Farah Dagogo was allegedly bundled to court on Friday and was remanded on the court’s order in the Port-Harcourt Correctional Centre. This was as a Federal High Court in Port-Harcourt ordered that the federal lawmaker be released and be restored to his personal liberty.

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