*Adjourns case till February 10
By Chioma Onuegbu, Uyo
A Magistrate court sitting, in Uyo, on Wednesday, commenced trial on the alleged molestation and maltreatment of an 11-year-old, JSS1 student of the Deeper Life High School, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State by some Senior Students and School officials.
The two SS1 Students allegedly accused in the matter who are also minors (13years each) are being prosecuted by the police.
The Court proceedings which commenced about 10.a.m on Wednesday was held under closed-doors, as people including journalists were asked to leave the court premises.
It could be recalled that the two minors were arraigned on January 7, 2021, alongside 5 other accused officials of the School consisting of teachers and the suspended School Principal.
The two minors were charged for committing an act of gross indecency by inserting their fingers into the anus of the JSSI student which is punishable under section 218(1) of the Criminal code cap.38, vol.2. Laws of Akwa Ibom State.
They were also charged for unlawfully and indecently assaulting Don Davies which is an offence punishable under section 362 section (1) of the Laws of Akwa Ibom State.
Fielding questions from newsmen after the Court proceedings, Lawyer to the Plaintiff, David Okokon explained that why only the minors were allowed in the courtroom was because a juvenile court deserves jurisprudential privacy.
He simply said, “Ordinarily, the court had warned that parties should not address the media on the matter so that they would not talk in and out of the matter and then confuse the public. The mother of the molested boy had opened the floor and then told her story which was published in the media.
“The only difference is that this time she is in court, but there is no discrepancy in what she said earlier, and her statement to the police was admitted as evidence”
On his part, Counsel to the defendant, Nojin Tairu, declined to comment on what transpired inside the Court, saying as proceedings have started, one is not allowed to be making comments about the nitty-gritty of the matter.
“At the end of the proceedings, you will have all the fact and all that transpired in the Court.
The matter is sub judice. It will not be so decent to be hearing other versions of the matter.
“The public right to know what happened in court is circumscribed by the practice proceedings of the Court. It is pertinent to know that this is a special court proceeding involving the child’s right procedure for trial.
” That was the reason all persons including men of the fourth realm were asked to leave the court premises. This is actually a juvenile court, and the law and the court is wary of exposing somethings that may have a harmful effect on the children involved.
“There are three children in this matter, we need to be careful and sensitive. I can assure you that at the end of the proceedings, journalists would have the whole revelation regarding the matter”, he explained
He said that the case was adjourned till February 10, 2021, for the continuation of the hearing.