By Emem idio
JUSTICE Iniekadi Eradiri of Bayelsa State High Court yesterday, disqualified himself from the trial of Chief Richard Kpodo, a former aide to former Governor Timipre Sylva of Bayelsa on Security Matters.
Kpodo, standing trial for the alleged rape of a 26-year female cashier, had appealed Justice Eradiri’s ruling, declining jurisdiction from hearing the case and petitioned the National Judicial Council, NJC, accusing the judge of bias.
Kpodo’s counsel, Julius Iyekoroghe, had on December 21, 2018, approached Justice Eradiri with a motion, urging him to disqualify himself, but Eradiri referred the application to Chief Judge of Bayelsa.
Justice Kate Abiri, Chief Judge of Bayelsa, subsequently declined the application to assign the rape trial to another judge.
The defence counsel alleged that the judge was biased in the case by refusing to grant the defendant bail.
At the resumed hearing in the matter, yesterday, Justice Eradiri, said that he was constrained to hands off the case to pave way for the investigation by NJC.
Recall that Kpodo who was earlier denied bail by Justice Eradiri appealed the ruling at the Appeal Court and was released from Okaka Prisons Yenagoa, where he was held from July 2018 till April 2019 after meeting the bail condition.