Defense Counsel Explains Why Dino Melaye Was Absent From Court Today

Senator Dino Melaye

Dino Melaye’s absence in court on Monday stalled his trial in the ongoing alleged false information case before Justice Olasumbo Goodluck of an Abuja Federal High Court.

Melaye, the senator representing Kogi West in the National Assembly, is facing two counts bordering on giving false information to the Police. The Prosecuting Counsel, Shuaib Labaran, had arraigned Melaye, alleging that the defendant had, sometime in April, 2017, deliberately given false information to the Police.

Labaran alleged that Melaye had deliberately volunteered information that incriminated David Onoja, Chief of Staff to the Kogi State Governor, as the mastermind of an assassination attempt on him. The prosecution counsel further alleged that Melaye had, in April 2017, given false statement of facts during a phone conversation with Mohammed Abubakar, son of the late former governor of Kogi State, Abubakar Audu.

The senator, however, denied committing the offence, which contravened sections 140 and 393 of the Penal Code Law, Cap. 89, Laws of Northern Nigeria, 1963. On resumption of hearing today, Labaran told the court that Melaye was absent from court, but that his counsel, MOlusegun Jolaawo, had explained the circumstances of his absence to him.

The prosecuting counsel informed the court that Jolaawo had appealed to him to agree to his request for adjournment since the court had initially given two different days for continuation of hearing in the case. Labaran then informed the court that he was not opposed to the defendant’s counsel’s request for an adjournment.

Jolaawo informed the court that Melaye was absent in court because he was in custody of the Police, “because the court does not take to speculation, the defence team had obtained a certified copy order of the FCT High Court by Justice Yusuf Halilu on January 9, ordering the remand of the senator in Police custody.’’

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He said the defence team had tendered before the court, a filed application for enforcement of Melaye’s right, filed by Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN) before Halilu. The counsel informed the court the date the remand order would expire, which consequently made Justice Goodluck to adjourned the case until January 28 for continuation of hearing.

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