The Supreme Court on Friday reversed Criminal Court B’s decision preventing state lawyers from using police investigative reports against former Executive Protection Service (EPS) Deputy Director for Operations Darlington George, charged with aggravated assault and criminal facilitation.
Presiding Justice in Chambers Associate Justice Sie-A-Nyene G. Youh directed Judge Karboi K. Nuta to resume jurisdiction and allow the state to admit documents that were signed for by defense lawyers, and instructed that the trial must proceed.
Nuta’s action stemmed from the prosecution admitting their failure to make that evidence available to the court, although 22 pages of reports were presented by the state lawyers to the defense team.
That statement was however denied by defense counsels before Judge Nuta, who later asked the judge to deny the prosecution’s plea for him to conduct an investigation into the matter. But they could not convince the judge to change his mind.
Initially, Nuta had ordered state lawyers to ensure that the investigative reports were submitted to the court, which the prosecution instead presented to the defense counsel.
Justice Youh’s action now clears all legal hurdles making it difficult for prosecution to allow Police Superintendent Monroe Dennis to proceed with his testimony, despite Nuta’s efforts to compel him to do so.
Without that evidence, Judge Nuta would have dropped charges against George and co-defendant James Tamba in the assault of Esther Glain in Barnesville Estate in 2015.
The report is the key documentary evidence the prosecution is relying on to prove their case against George and Tamba.
After the justice’s reversal, a state lawyer who spoke on condition of anonymity told the Daily Observer that Nuta may not get to hear the case.
“We welcome the court’s decision, but we are not going to allow Nuta to preside over the matter,” the lawyer said.
“He cannot refuse our appeal for an investigation about the conduct and behavior of the defense counsel for denying receiving the document. Allowing Nuta to continue with the case would be a disaster for us state lawyers,” he said.
Importantly, the November term of court has already ended, and whether or not Nuta will continue with the trial rests with the Supreme Court.
If the Supreme Court reassigns the case, it means Nuta can go ahead with the determination of the matter. But on the contrary, the case would be assigned to a replacement judge, making way for the trial to start over again.