The Federal Government has lost its bid to conduct secret trial of former National Security Adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki (RTD) in the charges of unlawful possession of firearms and money laundering brought against him in September 2015, reports Channels TV.
The Court said that there was no point for the witnesses billed to be called to testify in the matter to wear masks and bear pseudo names and addresses so as to facilitate their protection.
Delivering ruling in an application for secret trial, Justice Adeniyi Ademola held that the federal government had in the charge against Dasuki listed the names and addresses of 11 witnesses to be called to testify against him and made same available to the general public and as such there was no basis for any hide and seek game in Dasuki’s trial.
He said that there was no basis to grant the request of government to make the witnesses wear special mask, bear pseudo names and addresses because the charges were not terrorism charges and that there was no information that the life of any of the witnesses billed to be called was being threatened by anybody or group.
The Court held that although, it has discretion to look into such issues of protection of witnesses in a criminal matter, such discretion must be judicially and judiciously used only in cases where threat to life has been established by the prosecution.
The Judge had also earlier turned down an application filed by the Dasuki asking that the charges brought against him be quashed, because the federal government has continued to keep him in detention in contempt of the court.
In the alternative, he ordered the Federal Government and its agents, the Department of States Security Service (DSS) to henceforth allow the detained former National Security Adviser have access to his lawyers and family members in the interest of justice and the rule of law.
The trial has been adjourned till May 18 and 19, 2016.
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