Terror Charge : FG's Failure To Provide Needed Medical Evaluation Report Stalls Okah's Trial

Source: thewillnigeria.com

SAN FRANCISCO, April 02, (THEWILL) - The ongoing trial of Charles Okah for alleged treason and terrorism was stalled on Wednesday at the Federal High Court in Abuja as the Federal Government could not provide the needed psychiatric evaluation report of the accused as requested by the court.

The trial judge, Justice Gabriel Kolawole, was therefore left with no other choice than to adjourn the matter to May 12 for the submission of the evaluation report, directing however that Okah should not be brought to court.

He also called on the authority of the National Hospital to work on the evaluation report within time.

Okah, who is being prosecuted alongside Obi Nwabueze over the October 1, 2010 bomb explosion in Abuja , is facing a one-count charge with 22 particulars of overt acts of treason and another eight-count charge of terrorism.

When the case was adjourned last, Justice Kolawole had ordered that three psychiatric specialists from the National Hospital Abuja should examine Okah's mental state to determine if he should continue to stand trial.

However on Wednesday, prosecution counsel, Friday Izinyon, said, "though we wrote the court that the medical evaluation report is not yet ready from the team of experts from the National Hospital Abuja", "I am in court today to confirm same position.

From our inquiries, the medical report is not ready.

" He said in view of this, "we shall be asking for an adjournment pending when the report will be ready.

" In its short ruling, the court directed that the National Hospital Abuja should be informed via the ruling that the medical evaluation report on the mental status of Okah, "is eagerly being awaited by the court.

" It would be recalled that Justice Kolawole had early this year sentenced one of the suspects, Edmund Ebiware, who had his trial conducted separately, to life imprisonment, while another suspect, Tiemkemfa Francis Osvwo a.

ka General Gbokos, died in custody.
He had also ordered the National Hospital Abuja to conduct a psychiatric test on Okah to know if he was psychologically fit to stand trial.

But when the prosecution tendered the report of the psychiatric test, the court rejected it even as Okah's counsel, John Ainetor, contended that the report contained some inconsistencies and ambiguities because it was written in medical terminology.