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Terrorism: Victory For Ndume As Appeal Court Faults High Court's Rulings

Source: thewillnigeria.com
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BEVERLY HILLS, CA, December 17, (THEWILL) -  It was a double victory for embattled Senator Mohammed Ali Ndume on Tuesday as the Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja upheld the two appeals he filed against the decisions of the Federal High Court, Abuja in his trial on terrorism-related charges. Ndume, who is currently facing terrorism-related charges before the Federal High Court, in Abuja, was arraigned on December 12, 2012 on a four-count charge by the Department of State Services (DSS). Ndume is accused of sponsoring the Boko Haram sect, and failing to disclose the mobile phone number of a spokesman of Boko Haram, Ali Sanda Umar Konduga, which was alleged to be in his (Ndume's) possession. The prosecution, through its third witness, tendered on December 11 and 14, 2012 some call logs and three digital video discs (DVDs), containing call-data records intended to prove the allegation that Ndume had interactions with some Boko Haram members. Also admitted were documents containing findings based on investigations carried out by a Special Investigation Panel (SIP) set up by the DSS on the case. A prosecution witness told the trial court that there were 73 instances of communication between Ndume and Konduga. A Nokia E7 phone allegedly belonging to Ndume was said to have been used in communicating with Konduga, whose phone identity the SSS gave as Nokia 2700. Despite Ndume's argument that the items marked P7, P8, P8a and P8b were inadmissible, the trial judge admitted them in evidence, a development that prompted Ndume's two appeals. Ndume, in his appeal, asked the court to invalidate the admitted evidence on the ground that the trial judge erred in law when he admitted non admissible materials. The senator representing Borno State argued that the evidence in question was admitted in violation of clear provisions of the Evidence Act. But in a judgment read by the presiding judge, Justice Amiru Sanusi, on Tuesday, the Appeal Court faulted the decisions by Justice Gabriel Kolawole of the Federal High Court in which he, in two rulings on December 11 and 14, 2012 admitted some computer generated items in evidence in Ndume's trial. Justice Sanusi ruled that the Federal High Court erred when it admitted the items even when the prosecution failed to comply with the condition precedent as required under Section 84(1) and (2) of the Evidence Act 2011 (as amended) in relation to the admission of computer generated evidence. The Appeal Court held that the word "shall" used in Section 84 of the Evidence Act makes it mandatory that its provisions must be complied with. The court held that "In this case, the respondent failed to comply with the condition precedent as prescribed in Section 84 (2) of the Evidence Act." It therefore  faulted the admission in evidence of the items, marked exhibits "P7, P8, P8a and P8b" containing alleged call data records of purported interactions between Ndume and Konduga.