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Atuche appeals court’s ruling

By Innocent Anaba

LAGOS — Former Managing Director of Bank PHB, Mr Francis Atuche, has appealed against a ruling of a Federal High Court in Lagos, which refused to quash the charge against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

Atuche is standing trial alongside former Managing Director of Spring Bank Plc, Mr Charles Ojo, on a 45-count charge brought against them by the EFCC.

Trial judge before the lower court is  Justice Akinjide Ajakaiye.  Atuche and Ojo, are contending in the appeal, that the trial  judge erred when he held that proof of evidence was needless in a criminal trial before the Federal High Court, because trial in the court was summary.

Atuche is further contending in the appeal,  that the position adversely affected the judge’s consideration of the proof of evidence before him, resulting in miscarriage of justice.

According to him, the trail judge erred in law in holding that because Section 33 of the FHC Act prescribes summary trial in criminal matters, his application for quashing on the ground that the proof of did not disclose prima facie case against him was incompetent.

Further he argued that the trial judge erred when he held that the proof of evidence contained incriminating evidence linking him to the offences when the witnesses’ statement relied upon did not establish the elements of the offences charged.

Atuche further argued that the trial judge held wrongly when in refusing to consider whether the charge brought the Money Laundering Act were valid with respect to offences not connected with substantive offences involving psychotropic substances and held that there was prima facie case against him.

He also faulted the trial judge on the ground that having earlier held that proof of evidence was not required in criminal trial in the court, his decision that contents of the proof of evidence incriminated the applicant was prejudicial.

Atuche said the court’s decision predetermined his substantive guilt at an interlocutory stage in a summary trial, an action amounting to a serious error in law.


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