The murder trial of the four defendants accused of killing Elozino Ogege, a 300 level student of the Delta State University, DELSU Abraka resumed sitting on Monday, July 29, 2019, at the High Court of Justice, Asaba with the court admitting the video evidence tendered by prosecution containing some of the defendant’s oral confessions to the crime.
The resumed trial of the four defendants continued after their trial suffered a setback in the court’s last two sittings due to absence of some of the defendant’s counsel.
The prosecuting counsel, Omamuzo Erebe, Director Department of Legal Drafting of the State Ministry of Justice, who led Uche Akamagwuna Esq., called its fourth prosecution witness, Azimokwu Victor Chukwudi.
The witness, a professional camera man and video producer gave evidence in chief through his sworn written deposition on oath.
He told the Court that on the 20th day of November 2018, he was invited by the Delta State Police Command to record the interview of the four defendants.
He stated that on completion of the interview he transferred the video from his camera into his office computer and thereafter produced a DVD of the recording.
He handed over the DVD to the Investigating Police Officers (IPO) together with a certificate of authentication of the DVD and thereafter proceeded to identify the DVD when shown to him by the prosecution.
The prosecution counsel sought to tender the DVD in evidence and this elicited objections from the defence counsel.
Counsel to the 1st and 2nd Defendants, Samson Okehielem, objected on the grounds that a copy of the DVD which was served on him as part of the proof of evidence was empty and contained no recording. The other counsel to the 3rd and 4th Defendants aligned themselves with the submission.
Replying to the objections, Mr Omamuzo Erebe stated that the objections where without merit, stating that contrary to the claims of the Defence counsel, the DVD copy front loaded as part of the proofs of evidence was not empty but contained the recorded interview.
He stated further that in any case, the DVD sought to be tendered was identified by the witness as what was produced by him which complied with the provisions of Section 84(2) of the Evidence Act 2011.
He stated further that on the Supreme Court authority of Dickson v. Sylvia, the Court should discountenance the objections and admit the DVD particularly as what governs admissibility is relevancy.
In its ruling the learned trial Judge, Justice Flora Ngozi Azinge, held that the prosecution had shown before the court that the DVD tape was relevant to its case, adding that since relevancy was what governs admissibility, the document should be allowed in evidence and that the issue of the weight to be attached to the DVD would be determined at the end of the trial.
The Court ruled that the prosecution complied with the provisions of Section 84 of the Evidence Act and consequently admitted the DVD as Exhibit A.
Thereafter the prosecution applied for the DVD to be played in open Court. In the DVD, some of the defendants while being interviewed by policemen from the Delta State Command spoke of how they allegedly killed the deceased and disclosed the roles played by each of them.
As the video was being played in the open court where some of the defendant’s gave a graphic detailed of how the deceased was killed and dismembered, it was observed that some of them buried their heads inside the dock after they watched themselves on video admitting to the crime.
The witness was later cross examined by the defence counsel for each of the defendants.
Also in court today, was Ichie Ifenedo Esq holding a watching brief for the nominal complainant.
In view of the vacation period, further hearing was adjourned to 30th October, 2019.