Justice James Tsoho of a Federal High Court in Abuja is on Monday allowed the proposed prosecution witnesses lined up by the Federal Government to testify behind a witness screen against the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra and Director of Radio Biafra, Mr. Nnamdi Kanu.
The judge dismissed the objection by Kanu’s lawyer, Mr. Chuks Muoma (SAN), ruling that the request by the Federal Government for its witnesses to testify behind a witness screen did not amount to revisiting the court’s earlier ruling prohibiting the prosecution witnesses from wearing masks.
He upheld the argument of the prosecution led by the Director of Public Prosecutions in the Federal Ministry of Justice, Mohammed Diri, that the screen would only shield the witnesses from the members of the public present in court.
He said the use of the screen would not prevent the judge, the accused persons and lawyers to the parties to see the witnesses while testifying.
A witness screen is a device positioned to shield a witness from seeing the accused in the courtroom.
The court also dismissed the request by Muoma that the court should discharge and acquit its witnesses because the prosecution failed to produce its witnesses to enable the trial to commence on Monday.
The judge ruled that the provision of section 351(1) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015 relied on by the defence to ask for the quashing of the charges, did not apply to the circumstances of the case.
According to the judge, the court can only dismiss the charges against an accused person who is present in court when the complainant in the case is not represented in court.
The court fixed Wednesday for trial to commence.
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