The Federal High Court sitting in Calabar, Cross River State, and presided over by Justice Rosemary Dugbo has discharged and acquitted Mr. Charles Oberu who was accused of circulating the recorded sex tape between him and his former girlfriend, Ms Paradise Gracious John.

Ms. John, a nurse in training at the time at the Cross River State School of Nursing, Itigidi, and a pastor’s daughter, had petitioned Mr. Oberu after her sex tape was shared widely in April 2022.

Mr. Oberu was arrested in late April 2022 and arraigned on June 9th, 2022 when a two-count charge bordering cyber stalking and blackmail was preferred against him in suit number FHC/CA/126C/2022.

He pleaded not guilty and has remained remanded at the Medium Security Custodial Center, Afokang, Calabar since then.

Justice Dugbo on Thursday, May 9, 2024, while reading her judgment in the suit which suffered numerous adjournments, held that the prosecution failed to prove their case beyond reasonable doubt, and therefore, discharged and acquitted the defendant for lack of diligent prosecution.

“This Court has taken the pain to outline the above argument, from both learned counsel, it is worthy of note, that the address of counsel no matter how beautifully written cannot take the place of evidence; It is the finding of this court after placing evidence adduced in count one, charge by the persecution, side-by-side with the ingredients of the offence, this Court found that the prosecution failed to link the iPhone in count one, to the defendant, being that the IPO said that he does not know the name of the phone or the model of exhibit B-8 tendered through him,” the judge said.

“This Court pauses here to ask, if the model of exhibit B-8 was not disclosed by the defendant, how do you conclude, in the prosecution count one to name the phone as an iPhone?

“Prosecution has proved, that the defendant did not transmit, or cause transmission of his communication with CrossRiverWatch, an online Newspaper, and several chats with other people with the intention of bullying, threatening or harassing PW1.

“To this end, this court has perused the evidence induced by the prosecution, in count two as well, to prove that no real evidence was adduced by the persecution to prove same: In the instant case, this court has agreed with the submission of the learned defence counsel, that based on the evidence and counter evidence adduced in this charge, the prosecution has not discharged the burden of proof placed on him.

“There is no live case in this matter, there is no live evidence for the Court to reach a decision, to convict the defendant: based on the above, I hereby discharge and acquit the defendant of the two-countIt charge filed against him, due to the negligence of the prosecution”

However, in a brief interview, after the Court session, O. E Obeten Esq., who held brief for the substantive prosecutor, S. A. Awurikuriye Esq, in the case between IGP versus Charles Oberu; said “the judgement was fair, and that the Court was not sentimental”

Meanwhile, Oboko Oku Esq, counsel to the defendant, said “It is very clear, that the prosecution has not been able to prove his case that the alleged offence was committed. It was just a frivolous case that would have ended the life of an innocent man in prison.”

Source: Blackgh.com

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