Court refuses to hear Lloyd's bail application
The Rivers state High Court in Port Harcourt ,on Friday declined to hear a bail motion by the detained leader of the Rivers state House of Assembly (RSHA), Chidi Lloyd.
The court held that such a motion could be heard only when a plea had been taken.
Lloyd was detained in Abuja on Tuesday, July 23 by the Inspector General of Police Mohammed Abubakar after he showed up from hearing after being declared wanted over assault on one of the anit-Amaechi lawmakers.
He was allegedly captured in a video beating assaulting the anit-Amaechi lawmakers who was seriously injured.
According to Justice Latan Nyordee, it is trite law that an application for bail in a criminal proceeding cannot be argued when the accused person is not in court or even arraigned.
He held that when an interlocutory application is filed in a criminal charge as serious as that Lloyd is facing, it is proper for the accused person to be properly arraigned before application for bail can be heard.
He noted that the condition for granting the application to hear the motion had not been fully met and the prosecution still has time to respond to the accused person's affidavits.
He adjourned the case to August 6, for ruling on his arraignment.
He said:'in my own very, very view, and I so hold, that when an interlocutory application is filed in a criminal proceeding of this magnitude, it is proper to allow the accused person to be properly arraigned before application for bail can be moved.
'This is trite law as regards criminal proceeding that motion for bail should be moved before plea is taken. Again the condition required to hear the motion is not fully met.For these reasons, the application is not granted.
'This case had earlier been adjourned till the 6th day of August, for ruling. I rule that the matter be adjourned till the August 6.'
Lead counsel to the accused ,Mr. Beluolisa Nwofor (SAN), had informed the court that the business of the day was to argue on the application for bail dated and filed on July 30 2013, and served on the prosecution on the next day.
He said: 'the case was adjourned today(yesterday), for substantive motion for bail filed on July 30, and served on the prosecution on July 31.
'The process was received and signed for by, Sikpi Eniyepere (ASP).Evidence of service has also been returned to the court, but the Police have since then not filed any counter affidavit or written address in response to our affidavit.
'It is more than 48 hour stipulated by law and we are ready to go ahead and move this un-objected motion for bail.
'The accused person's plea has not been taken and he is not in court.The police did not bring him.We can go on with the motion for bail, and an order made , as we know that an accused person can be granted bail even when he is in prison.If it pleases my Lord we are ready to go on to move our motion.'
Chidi is facing a-six count charge of conspiracy, attempted murder, assault and malicious damage arising from the July 9 fracas in the State Assembly.
His charge was filed at the state High Court last Monday by J.C. A. Ideachaba from the Force Headquarters Abuja, but he is yet to be arraigned and granted bail.
At the last sitting, the House leader was in court but was not arraigned following an objection by his counsel to the appearance of a private legal practitioner, Donald DENwigwe(SAN), as lead prosecutor in the case instituted by the police without the permission of the Attorney-General of the state(A-GS).DENwigwe in his reply said the charge was not initiated by the A-GS, but the Police that engaged him, hence he did not require any authorization from the A-GS.