Iniubong Umoren: Defence seeks acquittal, the court fixes judgment for August 4.
An Akwa Ibom State High Court presided over by Justice Bassey Nkanang has fixed August 4, 2022, for judgment in the murder case involving Uduak-Abasi Akpan, Frank Akpan, and Anwan-Bassey Akpan, over the alleged rape and murder of Inubong Umoren, a job seeker. Justice Nkanang fixed the date on Tuesday after the two defense counsels and the prosecuting counsel adopted their final written addresses.
The first accused, Uduak-Abasi Akpan is standing trial on a two-count charge of rape and murder, while both his father, Frank Akpan (second accused), and sister Anwan-Bassey Akpan (third accused), were charged with accessory after the fact to murder respectively.
Speaking while adopting the address, counsel to the first accused, Samson Adula, urged the Court to discharge and acquit his client in the overall interest of justice. Adula, who is the State Chairman of the Legal Aid Council, also prayed the court to discountenance the three confessional statements given by the first accused during trial within trial.
“My Lord, this is a case where the offenses which the defendant was alleged to have committed were not witnessed by anybody,” Adula argued.
Adula, who adopted the address on behalf of Abasidiong Ekpenyong, counsel for the second and third defendants, who took permission to be represented, prayed the Court to also discharge and acquit the second and third defendants.
He said, “I pray the Court to discharge and acquit the second and third defendants. My Lord this is a case where the second and third defendants are charged with the offense of being accessory after the fact to murder.
“My Lord, we submit that both the prosecution and defense are all in agreement that [the] first accused was arrested the day after the alleged date of commission of the offense.
“My Lord, the prosecution and defence are also in agreement that as at the time the first accused was arrested, the offense for which the first accused was arrested that day was [the] offense of kidnapping and not murder, and as such, the second and third defendants cannot be said to be accessory after the fact to murder.”
Adula who stressed that there was no evidence before the court indicating that the second and third defendants knew that the first defendant committed murder, described the case of the third defendant as more pathetic as she was charged for the mere fact of communicating with her brother (first defendant).
“On the strength of that, we most respectfully pray my Lord to specifically look at the status of the second defendant who is a senior citizen, having served this country for 35years should not be subjected to the ordeal that he is being subjected to presently,” Adula prayed.
The Deputy Director of Public Prosecution, Friday Itim, while adopting the final address filed June 16, 2022, faulted the submission of Samson Adula that there was no evidence before the court, adding that the second and third accused were culpable of charge of accessory after the fact to murder.
The prosecuting counsel who insisted that both the second and third accused assisted the first accused to escape to Calabar, Cross River State, recalled that Frank Akpan had told the court that he had sent a text message to his daughter in Calabar which read, “He said he is using a flying boat. It is better to escape than to die”.
He urged the Court to find all the defendants guilty as charged, adding that “the Prosecution had proven its four-count charge against the defendants beyond reasonable doubt”.
The prosecuting counsel added, “And that being so, in the interest of justice demand this honorable Court to hold that the defendants should accordingly be convicted and sentenced respectively according to Law.”
Justice Bassey Nkanang adjourned the case till August 4, 2022, for judgment.