In this edition of CAPIO’s success stories, Mr. Maduabuchi, who is a 32-year-old man, married with kids, was arrested on the allegation of kidnapping and armed robbery. Mr. Maduabuchi was remanded in custody for a full year without trial, in contravention of the extant criminal justice laws of Enugu State, including the ACJL. Sometime in 2015, CAPIO intervened in his case and proceeded with his trial in court. Interestingly, the complainants in the case, who were the actual victims of the crime, wrote to the Attorney General to enter a nolle prosequi in favour of the defendant ( a nolle prosequi literally means “ we shall not prosecute” and is a prerogative granted to the Attorney general of a State or federation in Nigeria, to withdraw and discontinue criminal prosecutions against the defendant), as they were not interested in continuing criminal prosecutions against the defendant. Despite the application for withdrawal by the complainant, the State continued criminal prosecutions against Mr. Maduabuchi (it is worthy of mention that an application for nolle is not granted as a matter of course. The Attorney General reserves the right to continue or discontinue criminal prosecutions, despite such applications). CAPIO’s indefatigable legal team represented Mr. Maduabuchi in court and in October 2018, he was discharged and acquitted of all charges, as the Prosecution could not produce witnesses, and thereby failed to prove their case.
Mr. Okosun, an Indigene of Nsukka was charged with robbery and remanded in prison since 2010, without trial. It is again worthy of mention that the extant criminal justice law of Enugu State forbids the practice of remanding suspects in prison without trial. Based on the provisions of the ACJL 2017, CAPIO’s legal team applied to the court for the release of the suspect. The application was granted and the court released the suspect unconditionally. When the prosecution stalls in diligently prosecuting an accused person, it is usually because they cannot provide compelling evidence against the accused person. An accused person in this regard should be reunited with his family until the prosecution is able to build a solid case against him. We commend the efforts of the judges in rising up to the call for justice and discharging accused persons in these circumstances. Accused persons should not be made to languish in prison while the prosecution sleeps on duty. We anticipate a rise in the release of wrongfully imprisoned inmates, under the provision of the ACJL 2017.