Abuja Federal High Court has ordered that the criminal trial of an embattled former National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, Olisa Metuh, will henceforth proceed even in his absence.
Justice Okon Abang, while giving his ruling on Wednesday, said the court was entitled to proceed with the trial in Metuh’s absence, considering the defendant’s previous several attempts to frustrate the trial and the manner he allegedly conducted himself after he fell down in court on Monday.
The judge ruled, “The application by prosecution deserves to succeed.
“The trial shall proceed in the absence of the defendant. See Section 266(a) and section 352(4) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015.”
In another turn, the court also summoned the General Manager of the Channels Television in Abuja and a presenter with the television, Mrs. Maupe Ogun-Yusuf, to appear before the court on May 25.
The judge said the television’s officials were being summoned in respect of the prosecution’s allegation that the television aired prejudicial statements allegedly made by a lawyer in Metuh’s defence team, Mr. Ben Chuks Nwosu, during the medium’s Tuesday’s edition of Sunrise Daily.
Metuh fell down as he was making his way to the dock on Monday.
He was later taken away in the court’s ambulance and has since been absent from court during both the Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s proceedings.
But Justice Abang insisted on Wednesday that Metuh deliberately fell down on Monday.
The judge noted that Metuh chose to deliberately ignore the lawful directive of the court instructing him to remain seated and not to go into the dock. He said Olisa Metuh chose to move towards the dock and then fell down.
He said Metuh went on to disturb proceedings by whimpering and groaning loudly “to give the impression that he was in pains” and made the court to look like an accident scene.