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AL-MUSTAPHA: JUDGE FIXES APRIL 19 FOR RULING ON SIP TAPE

By NBF NEWS
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Justice Mufutau Olokooba of an Ikeja High Court on Thursday fixed April 19 for his ruling on whether or not the video clips that contained the proceedings of the Special Investigation Panel should be viewed in public or private.

Lawyer to the former Chief Security Officer to late Gen. Sani Abacha, Maj. Hamzat Al-Mustapha, Mr. Lekan Ojo, said that the viewing of the SIP tape would be against the interest of the defendants.

He added that the tape was admitted as a 'res' (a thing done in the course of investigation) which amounted to doing a control viewing since it contained alleged admissions and confessions.

Al-Mustapha is standing trial alongside James Danbaba, Jubrin Yakubu and Mohammed Rabo Lawal over the attempted murder of the publisher of The Guardian Newspaper, Mr. Alex Ibru, and former Director of Sports, Delta State, Isaac Porbeni.

But at the resumed hearing of the case on Thursday, Ojo had argued that certain preliminary legal issues must be resolved by the court before the showing of the SIP recording.

The defence had argued that the ruling of Justice Olokooba on March 1 admitting the tape as exhibit to be viewed in an open court was an error.

But Justice Olokooba insisted that he gave the ruling after series of arguments from all the parties involved and would not overrule itself after consideration of the argument of both parties.

Lawyer to the Lagos State Government, Mr. Lawal Pedro (SAN), argued that the issue of admissibility in viewing the tape did not arise, saying that since the tape had already been accepted by the court, the earlier decision of the court remains.

Justice Olokooba, however adjourned ruling in the matter till April 19.