An Akwa Ibom State High Court has adjourned till May 18 for ruling in an application for variation of bail conditions Mr. Kufre Carter who is currently standing trial in a Magistrate Court on a three count charge bothering on criminal defamation.
Attorney General, Barr. Uwemedimo Nwoko who led the respondent’s team said that in pointing errors made by the applicants, he was giving help as allowing the presiding judge to rule on the application without taking notice of the errors will set bad precedent for the legal profession.
Barr Nwoko told the court that in his application before Justice Archibong Archibong of Akwa Ibom state High Court, counsel to the accused, Barr. Inibehe Effiong wrongly cited the authority to drive home his Argument.
Instead of EYU VS THE STATE, Barr. Effiong cited EJU VS THE STATE to which Attorney General, Uwemedimo Nwoko pointed out that the authority does not exist in law.
Barr. Effiong also committed a blunder when he referenced his legal authority in his application as a supreme court Judgment instead of referencing it as a Court of Appeal judgement. Justice Archibong agreed with Barr. Nwoko’s observation.
Another error noted was the wrong date in Barr. Inibehe Effiong’s application when in his affidavit of urgency said that a biological sister of Kufre Carter went to visit the accused on the 27th of April 2014. In his observation, Barr. Uwemedimo Nwoko pointed out that Mr. Kufre Carter was not at the DSS custody as at April 2014.
Realizing the damage that the errors pointed out could do to his application, counsel to the accused begged Justice Archibong for opportunity to make corrections in the motion he had earlier adopted to seek relief.
Justice Archibong declined, assuring that the court has taken notice of the errors and will do Justice to the application.
The court adjourned to 18th May, 2020 for ruling.
Mr. Kufre Carter was represented in court by Barr. Inibehe Effiong, Barr. Augustine Asuquo and Barr. Joseph Edem while the respondent’s team was made up of Barr. Uwemedimo Nwoko, Barr. Joseph Umoren and Barr. Godwin Udom.
Inibehe Effiong, had filed an application before the High Court of Akwa Ibom State seeking the variation and reduction of the stringent bail conditions granted to a sport’s presenter with XL 106.9 FM in Uyo, Mr. Kufre Carter, who was arrested on Monday, 27th April, 2020 by the Department of State Services (DSS) for allegedly defaming the State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Dominic Ukpong.
The DSS took the sport’s presenter to a Chief Magistrates’ Court where he was arraigned on a three count charge bothering on defamation.
The presiding Chief Magistrate, Winifred M. Umohandy Esq., admitted him to bail in the sum of Three Million Naira (N3, 000,000.00) with one surety in like sum and insisted that the surety must be either a Permanent Secretary with the Akwa Ibom State Government or a Civil Servant of Grade Level 17. Mr. Carter was also asked to obtain a letter from the Village Head attesting to his identity and submit it to the court as part of his bail conditions.
Following their inability to perfect the bail conditions, Effiong whose law firm is representing the Mr Carter in court immediately filed a Motion on Notice at the Akwa Ibom State High Court praying for an order “discharging and or varying the order of release on bail of the Accused person/Applicant made on the 29th April, 2020 by the Chief Magistrates’ Court of Akwa Ibom State (Coram: Winifred M. Umohandy, ESQ. – Chief Magistrate Grade II) in Charge No: MU/255C/2020 and substituting same for the most liberal terms possible.”
In the 20 pages court documents filed on behalf of the detained journalist, Effiong stated that his client is unable to fulfil the bail conditions given by the Chief Magistrates’ Court.