The lawyers to the family of Timothy Adegoke have kicked against the prosecution of the suspects arrested in connection to his death at the high court in Abuja.
Adegoke, a postgraduate student of the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), was said to have traveled from Abuja to write an exam at a distance learning centre in Moro, Osun state on November 5. He was, however, declared missing two days later — only to be found dead.
The police had arrested Ramon Adedoyin and six suspects said to be staff members of Hilton Hotels and Resort, Ile-Ife where the deceased lodged.
The case was initially investigated by the Osun state police but later taken over by the intelligence response team (IRT).
In a petition addressed to the inspector general of police (IGP), lawyers representing the family of the deceased said they learned that the police will be charging the suspects at the high court in Abuja.
The lawyers raised concerns about imminent jurisdiction issues in the decision of the police which they said might give the “defense counsel technical loopholes to exploit in getting off the hook”.
“We are inclined to write this petition to you in order to save this well and the thoroughly investigated case of any technical knock-out or technical defeat the defence counsel can explore in order to get the suspects off the hook,” the lawyers said.
“Without the case being properly tried in the right court, justice may be hard to serve in this case. We have our reservations about the prosecution of this case at the high court of the federal capital territory, Abuja.
“In a criminal prosecution, the court in the territorial jurisdiction of the area of the alleged crime will be seised of the case and nothing more, although this may not be the case of some federal offences triable at the federal high court of any judicial division.
“The reason for is not far-fetched this can be traced to the fact that the law recognizes federal high court of Nigeria to be one and single court irrespective of the Division.
“This explains the reason why a case instituted in Federal High Court A may be transferred to Federal High Court B if there is a need for that. This is not the case in respect of High Court of different State.
“A High Court of Osun State for example cannot transfer a case to the High Court of Oyo State for adjudication. A High Court of a State will be one in division with respect to other High Court in the same State and not a High Court of the other state.
“As it stands now the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, is the law that guides the prosecution of crimes at the Federal High Court in Nigeria and other offences punishable in the FCT, Abuja. This law provides the framework for criminal litigation in those Courts where it is applicable.”
The lawyers further demanded that the case be tried at a high court in Osun state where the crime that caused the death of the deceased was committed.
“Criminal trials are tied to the jurisdiction of where the actual crime was committed. We are of the firm view that since none of the elements of the offence to be tried by the High Court of the FCT happened or took place in the FCT,” the lawyers added.
“We shall be demanding that the case be tried at the High Court of Osun State being the court with the requisite jurisdiction to try the case.
There is nothing in Section 93 (1) and (2) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015 that can make the Police to act otherwise.”
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