By Taiye Agbaje
The Court of Appeal, Abuja, has been urged to set aside the judgment of a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory(FCT) which convicted Nelson Onwuemeodo, an Utako Market trader for alleged conspiracy and assault.
Justice Peter Kekemeke of the FCT High Court had convicted six of the nine traders, who were executive members of Utako Market Shop Owners and Traders Association on Dec. 9, 2021, including Onwuemeodo, over allegations bordering on conspiracy and assault on Chief Denis Nweke and Nasiru Adamu at court premises.
Others convicted and sentenced are Ezeliora Joseph, Emeka Okah, Zainab Nwaorgwu, Igwerna Ale and Ichia Michael Ndu.
But in a 15- ground of appeal, Onwuemeodo, through his counsel, Chukwuma Ma-Chukwu Ume, SAN, faulted the judgment of trial court, describing it as pervasive.
Ume, in the application prayed the court to determine “whether the trial court was right in convicting and sentencing the appellant in spite of the fact that the totality of evidence of the prosecution witnesses graphically contradicted each other and none was worthy of belief?
“Whether the prosecution having not fielded any of the right, proper and credible witnesses etc, whether the trial court was right to have still proceeded to convict and sentence the appellant,” among other questions.
Ume submitted that unfortunately, the prosecution rather than proving its case beyond reasonable doubt, it ended up with testimonies full of contradictions and unreliable witnesses.
He referred the court to the testimonies of prosecution witness (PW) 1, 2 and 3, which he submitted were manifestly contradictory in nature.
The senior lawyer said that the trial court was in grave error to have believed, acted and relied on the evidence of the prosecution witnesses, in convicting and sentencing the appellant for the offences despite the material contradictions that bedeviled same.
He argued that having found as a fact that the plea of alibi raised by the appellant was not investigated, the trial court was in grave error and occasioned a miscarriage of justice when it went ahead to convict and sentence the appellant.
Ume prayed the appellate court to allow his appeal and set aside the judgment of Justice Kekemeke more particularly his conviction and sentence for being perverse and having occasioned a miscarriage of justice.(NAN) (www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Sadiya Hamza