Arrested Boko Haram suspects could be set free, a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja warned after prosecution in the case against nine alleged members of the sect failed to yet again meet their burden of proof.
Presiding judge, Justice Abdul Kafarati, said the prosecution’s inability to provide a witness to give evidence against the arrested suspects could be grounds for a mistrial.
The prosecution counsel, Bernard Nnamdi, on Thursday asked for an adjournment as he was unable to produce witnesses to support his case against the suspects. It is the fourth adjournment in this case so far.
Police authorities arraigned the suspects 13 months ago, but at the time failed to provide witness.
The suspects are nine of the 21 persons arrested in connection to the gun attack on Gwange Police station in Maiduguri; they are also accused of robbing a bank in the restive state. However, 12 of the arrested suspects remain at large.
Counsels for the remaining accused persons argued against the prosecution’s plea for adjournment, saying the case was lacking in evidence and as such should be dismissed.
Justice Kafarati reportedly granted the prosecution’s application. He adjourned the matter until September 18, 2012 for further hearing, giving the prosecution “one last chance”.
He warned that failure to provide witnesses on the later date would see the case against the nine suspected Boko Haram members thrown out of court.
“I should have discharged the accused persons today but I am compelled by justice to restrain such action and allow the prosecution one last chance” the Judge said.
Kafarati also urged police officials to provide evidence as it is unlawful to not have done so a year after the accused persons were arraigned.