A magistrate court in Abuja has dismissed the assault suit filed against Adamawa Senator, Elisha Abbo.
A video had surfaced showing the 41-year-old senator physically assaulting a woman, whom he accused of insulting him by calling him “a drunk”. A policeman who stood by did nothing to protect the victim.
The court however dismissed the suit for lack of diligent prosecution by the police. This is despite a viral video showing Mr Abbo assaulting a woman, Osimibibra Warmate; and a televised press conference in which the lawmaker apologised to the victim.
The magistrate, Abdullahi Ilelah, who upheld a no-case submission filed by Mr Abbo, said the police failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the lawmaker assaulted Ms Warmate on May 11, 2019, Punch Newspaper reports.
The case with suit number CR/010/2019 lasted from July 8, 2019, till June 18, 2020. And the two witnesses that testified against Mr Abbo were Ms Warmate, and a police officer, Mary Daniel, who investigated the matter.
When the prosecution rested its case, Mr Abbo did not open his defence but filed a no-case submission, asking the court to dismiss the charges preferred against him.
In his ruling, the magistrate, Mr Ilelah said the evidence and exhibits tendered did not disclose a prima facie case of the alleged crime of criminal force and assault against the defendant (Abbo).
“The prosecution’s case centred on the oral evidence of PW1 (Ms Warmate) and the two discs contained CCTV footage of the incident and alleged video clip of an apology from the defendant (Mr Abbo),” he said.
“The medical report of Mega Sight Eye Clinic did not disclose in detail what happened to the victim and Dr. Ambrose Ibegbule who wrote the report was not called as a witness.”
The court also said the video of the press conference showing Mr Abbo apologising was not tantamount to an admission of guilt as it was not a confessional statement.
Mr Ilelah added that the testimony of the victim was “so weak because the allegation has not been substantiated in any material particular” and the police did not do a proper investigation as it relied solely on the statement of the victim.
“The IPO (Investigating Police Officer) did not investigate this case at all or she just charged the defendant to court via the F.I.R (First Information Report) without due care and attention. In fact, she has succeeded in creating a doubt in the mind of this court during cross-examination and the Supreme Court held that where there is a doubt in a criminal trial, such doubt should be resolved in favour of the defendant,” he said.
He said the court would rely on the law and not logic or media reports because he who alleges must prove.
“The defendant is hereby discharged under Section 303(3)(c) and (d) of the ACJA 2015,” the magistrate said.