Two Leadership Newspaper journalists charged with alleged forgery of a presidential document have appealed the ruling of the trial court which refused to stay proceedings pending when President Goodluck
Jonathan would finish his term and come to testify for them in the alleged crime.
Group news editor Mr Tony Amokeodo and political correspondent Mr Chibuzor Ukaibe have challenged the ruling of the trial judge, Justice Usman Musale of an Abuja high court in Kubwa on July 29, 2013: the judge refused their application for an adjournment of the substantive charge indefinitely to await the end of term of President Jonathan so he would testify for them.
Dissatisfied with the decision of the trial court, the journalists through their lawyer, Mr Femi Falana (SAN), has applied for an order of the trial court granting them leave to appeal against the ruling at the Court of Appeal.
The motion on notice filed yesterday from Falana’s chambers claimed that the trial judge erred in law when he held that the charge/case does not have direct attachment to President Jonathan as to require him to adjourn sine die to await the end of his term. Falana also claimed that it is wrong for the trial judge to have held that section 308 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, subordinates section 36 (6)(d) of the same constitution and thereby reached a perverse decision.
Also, the motion claimed that the trial judge erred in law when he held that the term “notwithstanding anything to the contrary in this constitution” employed in section 308 of the 1999 constitution, as amended, is meant to exclude other provisions of the same constitution.
In all these, the journalists’ lawyer said there is miscarriage of justice and, consequently, formulated a lone issue for determination on whether in view of section 242(1) of the 1999 constitution, as amended, the trial court ought not to grant leave to the accused persons/applicants to appeal against the ruling of the court delivered on July 29, 2013.
Falana therefore prayed the Court of Appeal to allow the appeal and set aside the ruling of the trial court, and suspend further proceedings sine die to await the end of term of President Jonathan to enable him to testify as a witness for the applicants.