February 27, 2014

UNIPORT4: Police deny torturing suspect to obtain statement

UNIPORT4: Police deny torturing suspect to obtain statement

University of Port Harcourt students brutally beaten and burnt alive

The Rivers Police Command on Thursday denied torturing, Lawal Segun, a Port-Harcourt commercial taxi driver, to extract information from him in October 2012.

File photo; ...The protesting students...and the victims

File photo; …The protesting students…and the victims

It will be recalled that 12 people are standing trial for the alleged murder of four students of University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT),  at Aluu, near the university, in 2012.

A Chief Superintendent of Police, Mr Henry Njoku, denied the allegation while he was cross-examined by Mr Joshua Kehinde, Counsel to Segun.

Njoku said the first accused person made a confessional statement without torture or any application of force.

He said that Segun made two statements; one when he was arrested in October 2012, and the second after watching the video clip of the murder in Aluu village.

But segun insisted that the police beat him and threatened to shoot him if he refused to sign the statement.

The first accused person, who was led in evidence by his counsel, Kehinde, said the police tortured and inflicted body injuries on him.

Segun, told the court under cross-examination by Mr Rufus Godwins, Rivers Solicitor-General, that  the injuries were on his head and back.

The accused who attempted to remove his shirt to buttress his point but was restrained, said he was given panadol  tablet at the Port Harcourt prison clinic.

He, however, admitted that he was not treated by a doctor.

Segun said he could not complain about the torture to any police officer because nobody could have listened to him under the condition he found himself

He, however, contradicted his allegation of torture when he said that all the facts contained in his statement he wrote were correct.

“All facts in my statement are correct,’’ Segun said.

The solicitor-general said the onus of proof on the allegation rested on the shoulders of the defence in line with the Evidence Act.

He said the allegation was the figment of the defence imagination,

According to him, Lagos State has banned `trial-within-trial’ because lawyers used frivolous allegation to delay court proceedings.

The  judge, Justice Ledan Nyordee, warned lawyers appearing before him, to exercise caution, and said the court  was not a market place or a town hall meeting.

He adjourned the case to March 13 and March 27, for continuation. (NAN)