The Kaduna State High court, presided by Justice Esther Lolo, has set free, 10 members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), also known as Shiite, who have been standing trial for protest in Kaduna following the Zaria massacre of December 2015.
Delivering judgement in the “no case” submission put forward by the defense lawyers, Justice Lolo absolved them of all the five-count charges brought against them.
In upholding the no case submission, Justice Esther Lolo ruled in favor of the 10 members of the Islamic Movement who were arraigned before her in 2016 for the alleged offences of Criminal Conspiracy, Unlawful Assembly, Rioting, Disturbance of Public Peace and Causing Grievous Hurt.
When the matter came up in July 2017 after all the prosecution witnesses had testified and the prosecution had closed its case, Maxwell Kyon. who led Ummishetu Shehu and Martins Joseph, raised a no case submission. He urged the Court rule that the prosecution had failed to establish a prima facie case against the defendants, requiring them to enter a defence in the matter.
According to him, the prosecution had failed to prove the essential ingredients of the offences alleged to have been committed.
He urged the court to discharge the accused persons and acquit them of the offences for which they were standing trial.
Isiaka Abdullahi, Deputy Director of Public Prosecution, in his response, urged the Court to rule that at this stage of the trial, all the court was called upon to do was to decide whether or not a prima facie case had been made out against the defendants for which they would be required to enter their defence.
He argued that the Prosecution through the witnesses it called had established a prima facie case against the defendants. He hence prayed the court to discountenance the no case submission made on defendants’ behalf and call upon the defendants to enter their defence.
In the ruling, Justice Esther Lolo today, Thursday, upheld the no case submission and discharged, acquitted the defendants.
The Judge held that the entire evidence of the Prosecution was not direct as it failed to point to any of the defendants as being one of the perpetrators of any of the offences for which the defendants stood trial.
By this judgement, the defendants are not only freed, but have been absolved of any culpability in the commission of any of the offences for which they stood trial. [myad]