The trial of the publisher of CrossRiverWatch, Agba Jalingo charged for treasonable felony, terrorism and attempt to topple the Cross River State government suffered set back as the prosecutor sought witness protection and amendment of charges.
Mr. Dennis Tarhemba, the prosecution counsel in the case against the journalist has asked the Court on Wednesday to grant leave to amend the charges and an order to protect its witnesses.
Tarhemba, a Deputy Superintendent of Police in his opening statement at the Federal High Court in Calabar presided over by Justice Simon Amobeda said though the matter was adjourned to today and tomorrow (Thursday) for accelerated hearing, the prosecution has filed for amendment of charges and sought an order to protect its witnesses.
The lead counsel to the defendant, Mr. Attah Ochinke told the Court that despite the prosecution filing the amendment on October 11th, they were served hours to when the Court sat. and, Justice Amobeda adjourned the matter to tomorrow (Thursday) to entertain the plea of the prosecution and commencement of trial.
“The defense counsel shall file and serve his reaction before trial tomorrow,” Justice Amobeda said. The defence counsel declined to speak to the press. But, the prosecution counsel told journalists to wait till the next adjourned date to get details on the amended charges.
“They are matters before the Court and it (was) not taken today, it is tomorrow. So if you come to the Court tomorrow, you will now know the type of charge we intend to amend,” Tarhemba said.
When pressed for the reason behind approaching the Court for an order to protect its witness, he averred: “You know such application is not yet heard. We cannot in any way give any information on what the Court is yet to pronounce. You wait till tomorrow.”
Mr. Jalingo arrived the court premises at about 9:26am in a green-coloured van marked “Calabar Prisons” He was in company of another inmate and four correction officers. Two were armed and the other two unarmed. Decked in a black tee shirt with the inscription, “Dictators Perpetually Fear Our Pens,” Jalingo also wore a blue jeans and grey coloured shoes.