Dasuki’s Absence in Court Stalls Trial Again; Prosecutor, Ex-NSA’s Lawyer in Blame Game
The refusal of the Department of the State Security Service (DSS) to produce former National Security Adviser, Col Sambo Dasuki before an FCT High Court Wednesday, stalled the trial of the Ex-NSA.
At the resumed hearing, Rotimi Jacob who is prosecuting for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) informed Justice Husseini Baba Yusuf that the defendant refused to come to court on the ground that his lawyers, Joseph Daudu and Ahmed Raji would not be in court.
The prosecutor told the court that he persuaded the defendant to come to court to see how the proceedings would be conducted but claimed that the defendant did not yield to his persuasion. He therefore asked the court to begin the trial in the absence of the defendant since the business of the court slated was the trial to commence.
Jacob also told the court that an operative of DSS told him that the counsels to the defendant have never made any attempt to come into the DSS Office to see their client who has been in their custody since December last year.
Rotimi Jacob alleged that the refusal of the defendant to come to court was a ploy to scuttle the trial. However, in a vehement opposition to the claim of the prosecution, Mr. Wale Balogun who stood for Dasuki, urged Justice Baba Yusuf to disregard the claim of the prosecution adding that up to this moment, the counsel to the defendant have not been allowed to have access to their client in the custody of the DSS.
Balogun said that the claim of Jacob that an operative of DSS told him (Jacob) that Dasuki’s lawyers never made attempts to see him in the custody was baseless and unwarranted because he was quoting a third-party.
Dasuki’s lawyer said on the contrary it was the DSS and the prosecution that scuttle the trial by their deliberate refusal to produce the defendant who has been in their custody since last year in court. The counsel claimed that Rotimi Jacob as the prosecutor cannot give evidence from the bar on why the defendant was not brought to court. Adding that what he ought to have done was to have filed an affidavit evidence to explain to the court why the defendant was not in court.
Balogun stood his ground that the accused cannot be tried in his absence and without access to his lawyers to prepare effective defence adding that the prosecution will continue to bungle the trial until they resolved to obey the rule of law and take necessary steps required by law.
The position of Dasuki’s lawyer was adopted by lawyers standing for other defendants in the criminal charges brought against Dasuki.
Justice Baba Yusuf, in his comment, agreed that the business of court was for trial to commence but noted that that cannot be done in the absence of the defendant and without the permission of the court.
The Judge said he would have agreed with the prosecution (Rotimi Jacob) that lawyers to Dasuki have not made any effort to access their clients in the custody. Adding that it was clear that the information dished out to the court by Jacob was hearsay obtained from unnamed DSS Operatives.
The judge, therefore agreed with the defence counsel on the need to adjourned the case.
Consequently, Justice Baba Yusuf adjourned the matter till April 6, 2016 for the prosecution to produce the defendant in court.