There was a mild drama at the Abuja federal high court on Wednesday during the trial of Omoyele Sowore and Olawale Bakare as the Department of State Security Service (DSS) colluded with the prosecution counsel, Hassan Lima, to mask witnesses.
The defence counsel, Femi Falana, objected to the plan by the Department of State Services to mask the prosecution witnesses in the course of the trial.
Sowore and Bakare were charged with treasonable felony as a result of the #RevolutionNow protest planned by the publisher of Sahara Reporters, Omoyele Sowore.
The case has been further adjourned till December 5 and 6 for trial.
Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu while ruling after she had listened to the submission by prosecution and defence counsel, asked the prosecution counsel, Hassan Liman, to serve Sowore’s lawyer all statement of witnesses and other documents relied on by the prosecution to enable the defendants prepare for defence.
He expressed worry over the action of the prosecution that had secretly arranged with the Deputy Chief Registrar of the court to set up a protective screen for the witnesses.
He also told the court that he had not been served with the statement of prosecution witnesses and video recording relied on by the prosecution.
He added that they were entitled to those evidences in line with Administration of Criminal Justice Act.
Justice Ojukwu, therefore, summoned the DCR over the allegations levelled against the prosecution by the defence lawyer.
Appearing before the court, the DCR said the prosecution had explained to him that they needed the screening instrument because of the high profile matter and the kind of witnesses they were bringing in.
In his defence, Liman said he only brought in the instrument because he planned to apply to the court for protection of witnesses.
In her ruling, Justice Ojukwu said that the court had adjourned the matter for trial to commence today without any form of protection for witnesses.
Stating clearly that no application was made before the court for witness protection, Ojukwu called on the prosecution to call the first witness for trial.
The judge, therefore, asked Liman to do the needful and serve the defendant before the adjourned date.