A Magistrates Court in Enugu State has dismissed a criminal suit seeking to convict members of the De Norsemen Kclub of belonging to a secret society.
The judge predicated his judgement on the inability of the prosecution to prove their case.
The case with number CME/587c/2019 was between the Commissioner of Police and Henry Oputa with 19 others.
The defendants were arrested by the Police at De Castle Hotel, Enugu on 7th September, 2019, during the convention of De Norsemen Kclub Inc.
In their statements to the police, some of them admitted their membership of the club but insisted that it was not a secret cult, while six others denied membership, asserting that they were in the hotel facility for other reasons.
They were who were arraigned before Magistrate A.C Mbah by the Police on a two-count charge of conspiracy to belong to a secret society and an unlawful society all pleaded not guilty to the charge.
They were charged with, "conspiracy to belong to an unlawful society and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 495(a) of the Criminal Code, Cap. 30, vol. II Revised Laws of Enugu State of Nigeria 2004."
They were also charged with having, "registered with RC 7458 with the name De Norsemen Kclub Inc. under the disguise of unlawful society on 6th and 7th days of September, 2019, gather themselves under the guise and held the meeting of Vikings Confraternity, an unlawful society and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 8 of Public Order (Prohibition of Secret Cults and their activities) Law No. 17 Revised of Enugu State of Nigeria 2009.”
During the hearing, prosecution counsel, Simeon Eze called two witnesses, ASP Godspower Owuzo and DSP Ekeleme Chidobe and also tendered six exhibits, including documents from the Corporate Affairs Commission.
However, the defence council jointly led by, E.E. Anosike, S.P.C. Nwokolo, Okoronkwo Uneke and S.A. Nwankwo averred that from the totality of evidence led by the prosecution to prove the case, “we respectfully submit that the prosecution has not made out a prima facie case to warrant the defendants to enter their defence.”
Justice Mbah discharged the defendants on the ground that the prosecution failed woefully in proving the ingredients of the two-count charge and that the evidence adduced by the prosecution witnesses was discredited as a result of cross examination and rendered manifestly unreliable that no reasonable tribunal can convict on it.
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