…As Court grant Oluwa Esimije Bail with the sum of N2 Million and Surety
…Case adjourns to 5th November, 2021 for continuation of hearing
By Our REPORTER
It was drama at the Edo State High Court of Justice, Criminal Court 4, Benin City today, 15th October, 2021 as Chief Johnson Atseruleghe, the Iyatsere of Warri Kingdom sent his thugs to destroy NTA camera. It took the intervention of some lawyers, court staff and journalists before the camera was set free.
The NTA Benin crew where at the Criminal Court 4 to cover the preceding of the alleged conspiracy, kidnapping and murder of Sunny Etchie, the Okaeghele of Kolokolo Community in Ologbo Dukedom of Ikpoba Okha Local Government Area by Chief John Atysetuleghe and 8 Others.
It all started when NTA cameraman was doing his official assignment when Chief Johnson Atsetuleghe thugs pounded on him, grabbed him and threatening to destroy the camera if he should continue to record Chief Johnson Atsetuleghe who is one of the suspects of the alleged murder.
Meanwhile, at today’s sitting, the case against Chief Johnson Atsetuleghe and 8 Others over alleged conspiracy, kidnapping and murder of Sunny Etchie, the Okaeghele of Kolokolo Community in Ologbo Dukedom of Ikpoba Okha Local Government Area of Edo State came up for hearing.
The Prosecuting Team led by Mrs. Osasu Ewemande, called her 3rd Witness, (PW3) Sergeant Otoibhili Marvelous to the dock. The PW3 is one of the police that investigated the alleged murder of Sunny Etchie and recorded the statement of the 9th Defendant.
His testimony was taken. In the middle of his testimony, counsel to the 9th Defendant, O. T. Okeke objected to the advisability of the statement of the 9th Defendant. His ground of objection was that, the 9th Defendant claimed that his statement was not given voluntary, it was under duress. As a result of that ground of objection, the court then order for trial within trial to verify the voluntariness of the statement of the 9th Defendant.
So, trial within trial was order by the presiding judge, Justice Mary Ituseli.
At the dock, PW3 told the court that the evidence of the 9th Defendant was voluntarily; it was taken from him under a conducive environment and fully air-conditioned and as such, there was no element of intimidation.
The presiding judge then give a date for the other witness mentioned; a police officer that was also a member of the investigating team during the crime (Inspector Aigbe) to come and collaborate that the evidence was voluntary as claimed by PW3.
The presiding judge, Justice Mary Ituseli then adjourned the case to 5th November, 2021 for continuation of trial within trial.
On the bail application by O. T. Okeke. counsel to the 1st Defendant, (Oluwa Esimije) – the ruling was delivered in favour of the 3rd Defendant. The court then grant the bail application with the sum of N2 Million and a surety who must be a civil servant and resides here in Edo state.
Chief Johnson Atselege and 8 Others are currently being arraigned for alleged conspiracy, kidnapping and murder of Mr. Sunny Etchie, the Okaeghele of Kolokolo Community in Ologbo Dukedom, Ikpoba-Okha Local Government Area, Edo State.
All the 8 Accused persons including, Chief Johnson Atseruleghe, the Iyatsere of Warri, Felicia Otikpere, female – 55; Oluwa Esimije – 38; Monday Iluwa – 58; Ayokotse Robinson – 54; Nosa Omoregie – 54; Mofe Samuel – 40; Magnanimous Omawumi – 40; Ayuwa Mofe – 65, Amerete Ejiro – 25, Onyeburutan Jeffrey – 25 and Benjamin Erewa – 39 were in Court .
The Defendants’ offence contravened Sections 516, 327 and 316 (1) punishable under Section 319 (1) of the Criminal Code Act , Cap C38, Laws of Federation of Nigeria 2004 and Section 2 (2) punishable under Section 3 of the Kidnapping Prohibition (Amendment) Law, 2013 of Edo State.