Lawyers have raised alarm over the trial of a murder case in an inferior court in Ukpo, Anambra state by His worship M. N. Mbanefo.
ASKLEGALPALACE learnt that two suspects – Dubem Uwafor and Ikechukwu Okafor were allegedly involved in an attack at Ifitedunu village on the 16th of July which caused the death of a person. Many others were allegedly wounded during the attack.
That the magistrate had in a charge No: MCU/33C/2021 on 4th August overruled the preliminary objection raised by the Prosecuting Counsel, Kanayo Chukwu, seeking to amend the charge. The Magistrate held that he had no jurisdiction.
Counsel to the complainants, Chief O.C. Emeruwa Esq., K.K Oguejiofor Esq., Jude Onyejegbu Esq., And Izuchukwu Jeff Oyinze Esq. on their part said His worship M. N. Mbanefo, on 6th of August, went ahead to hear the argument of the prosecuting counsel after he had amended the charge.
They said, “On the 6th day of August 2021 in open court he quarreled with the Police who took the defendants they brought to court from their police cell back to the police station after the proceedings on 4th August, 2021when he held that he has no jurisdiction, the implication of this is that he wanted to leave the defendants to go.
“The magistrate went out of his way to hear argument on a matter involving a murder charge. He also went ahead to inquire into the murder charge and held that there is no prima facie case of murder and that murder was not established in charge No: MCU/33C/2021. This finding made by the learned trial magistrate His worship M. N. Mbanefo at the Magistrate Court Ukpo, was done without jurisdiction in view of Sc.132 (1)ACJL 2010.
“The trial Magistrate also made a subtle attempt to grant Bail to the defendants by hearing an application for Bail made by Azubuike Okeke Esq. Counsel to the defendant former DPP in the murder charge. This attempt was made to give him a leeway to further grant bail to the other Defendant who may likely be arraigned on Monday the 9th day of August, 2021 on a charge of illegal possession of firearms and murder.
“The attitude of the Magistrate in conducting this matter so far shows manifest bias, compromise and judicial rascality.”
Chief Oji Emeruah, Esq., counsel to the complainants explained that there was murder in the community but the magistrate court is a court of summary jurisdiction. He also said that they have only come for preliminary inquiry and after that, the matter will be transferred to the High Court.
However, on 6th, the suspects were granted bail in the sum of N200,000, each. They are going to stand trial for murder and attempted murder in a matter that seemed to be filed before the court.
The matter was adjourned to 15th to 17th Sept for hearing.