A Rivers State High Court sitting in Port Harcourt yesterday discharged the Leader of the state House of Assembly, Mr. Chidi Lloyd, of the attempted murder of his colleague, Mr. Michael Chindah.
Lloyd has been standing trial for his role in the fracas that broke out in the House of Assembly on July 9, 2013, particularly for the attempted murder of Chindah. At the resumed hearing yesterday, the presiding judge, Justice Letam Nyordee, struck out the matter and discharged Lloyd.
The decision of the court came after the state Attorney-General, Worgu Boms, filed an application of nolle prosequi dated March 26, pursuant to Section 211, subsection 1 (c) of the 1999 constitution for lack of material to prosecute the matter.
Boms, who took over the prosecution of Lloyd last August shortly after the police arraigned the lawmaker, said he was unable to get the police to release the file, leading to several adjournments.
Ruling on the application, the trial judge granted the application and discharged Lloyd.
Speaking to journalists shortly after the ruling, counsel to Lloyd, Mr. Beluolisa Nwofor (SAN), said with the ruling, his client was now a free man. He said the attorney-general had no option than to seek withdrawal of the matter since the police refused to release the case file.
He said, â€œThe attorney-general exercised his power under section 211 sub-section 1(c) of the 1999 constitution to enter a nolle prosequi and the effect of that is that Rivers State has taken a decision to discontinue the criminal prosecution.
â€œIt has far-reaching legal consequences, which is not for this interview. We were not given a copy of the letter; he wrote directly to the court. We will apply to get a certified copy of that letter but I must remind you of the antecedent of this matter.
â€œAttorney-General had repeatedly told the court that the police have not given him the case file; that he has no material to prosecute the case with. If you recall, the police has not released series of adjournments on the grounds that the case file.”
So I can only speculate that he has come to the end of the road since the material he requires to prosecute the case has been denied. Then there is no option than to throw in the towel.
â€œThe implication is that Lloyd is free. The prosecution could not establish his case. If you charge an innocent man to court, you have a duty to prove the case beyond reasonable doubt and where you fail to do so the citizen will go free,â€ he said.
On whether the police can no longer arrest Lloyd, Nwofor said, â€œWell, I will not want to speculate on that but for now my client is free, but if he commits another crime of course you know, he is not above the law. But for now he is an innocent man he has committed no crime.â€