…Prosecution prays Court to convict all defendants
...As Defence urges court to acquit them
By Chioma Onuegbu Uyo
Akwa Ibom State High Court sitting, in Uyo has fixed August 4, 2022 to deliver judgement in the trial of Uduak-Abasi Akpan, Frank Akpan and Anwan Bassey Akpan over the alleged rape and murder of jobseeker, Miss Iniubong Umoren, in April 2021.
The trial judge, Justice Bassey Nkanang fixed the date yesterday (Tuesday) after the two Defence Counsel’s and the prosecuting counsel adopted their final written addresses.
The principal suspect and first defendant Uduak-Abasi Akpan was arraigned on two count charge of rape and murder, while both his father (second defendant) Frank Akpan, and sister Anwan-Bassey Akpan(third defendant) were charged for accessory after the fact to murder.
Adopting the address, Mr. Samson Adula , Counsel to first defendant, Uduak-Abasi Akpan, urged the Court to discharge and acquit him in the overall interest of justice.
Adula who is the State Chairman of Legal Aid Council, also prayed the court to discountenance the three confessional statements given by the first defendant in trial within trial.
“My Lord, this is a case where the offences which the defendant was alleged to have committed was not witnessed by anybody”, Adula argued.
Adula while adopting the address on behalf
Mr. Abasidiong Ekpenyong, Counsel of second and third defendants, who took permission to be represented , prayed the Court to also discharge and acquit the second and third defendants.
His words: “I pray the Court to discharge and acquit the second and third defendants. My Lord this is a case where the second and third defendants are charged for offence of being accessory after the fact to murder.
“My Lord, we submit that both the prosecution and defence are all in agreement that first defendant was arrested the day after the alleged date of commissíon of the offence.
“My Lord, the prosecution and Defence are also in agreement that as at the time the first defendant was arrested, the offence for which the first defendant was arrested that day was offense of kidnapping and not murder, and as such the second and third defendants cannot be said to be accessory after the fact to murder”
Adula who stressed that there was no evidence before the court indicating that the second and third defendants knew that first defendant committed murder, described the case of third defendant as more pathetic as she was charged for the mere fact of communicating with her brother (first defendant).
,” On the strength of that, we most respectfully pray my Lord to specifically look at the status of the second defendant who is a senior citizen, having served this country for 35years should not be subjected to the ordeal that he is being subjected to presently”, Adula prayed.
However, the deputy Director Public Prosecution,(DPP) Friday Itim, while adopting the fiinal address filed June 16, 2022 faulted the submission of Samson Adula that there was no evidence before the court that second and third defendants were culpable of charge of accessory after the fact to murder.
The Prosecuting counsel who insisted that both defendants had encouraged and assisted the first defendant to escape to Calabar, Cross River State, recalled that Frank Akpan had told the court that he had sent a text message to his daughter in Calabar.
According to the Prosecuting counsel the text ran thus “He said he is using flying boat. It is better to escape than to die”.
He urged the Court to find all the defendants guilty as charged, adding that “the Prosecution had proven its 4-count charge against the defendants beyond reasonable doubt.
“And that being so, in the interest of justice demand this honourable Court to hold that the defendants should accordingly be convicted and sentenced respectively according to Law.”
Justice Bassey Nkanang after listening to the arguments of their final addresses adjourned the case till August,4, 2022 for Judgement.