By Akanimo Sampson
A Port Harcourt High Court has issued two bench warrants directing the Police Commissioner in Rivers State, to immediately arrest the former Majority Leader of the state House of Assembly, Chidi Lloyd, to face trial for alleged murder attempted murder charges.
Justice Chinwendu Nwogu of High Court 19 issued the two bench warrants on Thursday following the absence of the accused person and his counsels at the court.
The court also ordered that the accused person should be detained at the Port Harcourt Prisons till the next adjourned dates for his trial.
He was billed to take his plea in CHARGE NO: PH/692CR/2018 and .CHARGE NO: PH/693 CR/2018. The matter has been adjourned to January 10, 2019 for the Police to produce him to take his plea.
Lawyers to the accused person were in court on Wednesday when their objection was dismissed. This Thursday, the counsels appeared and registered their names before the court, but were not present when the case was mentioned.
Counsel to the state government, Chief Godwin Obla (SAN) however announced that the state was ready for the expeditious trial of the former lawmaker.
According to him, ‘’the defendant’s absence was not excused at all. On the basis of that, we applied for bench warrants to be issued for the two different cases to compel the appearance of the defendant in court on the next adjourned date of January 10, 2019.
“Two bench warrants have now been issued mandating the Commissioner of Police of Rivers State to arrest and to detain Chidi Lloyd in Port Harcourt prison till the next adjourned date and to produce the defendant in court on the next adjourned date.”
In another matter, involving Ojukaye Flag Amachree, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), he was also not in court to face JusticeJoy N. Akpughunum.
He is facing trial for an alleged murder in Case Number PH/1664/CR/2016.
The matter was accordingly adjourned to January 24, 2019. Godwin Obla (SAN) who is prosecuting the case for the state said it was out of the abundance of caution that prosecution requested for a short adjournment to avail the accused person the opportunity to take his plea.
He noted that hearing notice will be issued and served on the accused person and his counsel. He assured that justice will be done in the suit, adding that the matter was at their instance. ‘’We are in court again, the defendant is not in court and his counsel is not in court. His counsel has not written to the court to excuse his absence.
“Out of the abundance of caution because we know that this is a criminal trial, we decided deliberately not to proceed because if we proceed it will look like the state is just interested in infringing on the constitutional rights of the accused person. The state is interested in the expeditious and fair trial of the accused person.”
“We have out of the abundance of caution applied for a short date to enable fresh hearing notice to be served on the accused person. The matter has been adjourned to the 24th of January 2018 for plea. Hearing notice will be issued and served on them. As officers of the court, we shall also do a letter to the counsel, notifying him of the new date.’’
By Akanimo Sampson