There was mild drama on Tuesday at the Delta state Magistrate court 5, Asaba as a complainant, Sam Ogrih wept in court during the trial of two Journalists, Joe Ogbodu, Managing Editor of BIGPEN Online newspaper and Prince Amour Udemude of the National Mirror Newspapers in Delta State.
The Delta state police command following a petition by Ogrih (plaintiff), had arrested Ogbodu and Udemude and arraigned them on Thursday, 23, October, 2019 at the magistrate court over a story attributed to the journalists on the bloody crisis that rocked Uzere community, Isoko South Local Government Area of the state.
In the media reports, Ogrih had been allegedly fingered in a N20m oil largesse crisis that rocked the community as well as sponsoring and funding of armed youth with the codename “Freedom Fighters” which was said to had unleashed mayhem in the community, a development resulted to indigenes deserting the community in October, 2019.
Ogrih had since denied his alleged involvement in the crisis and sponsoring of the armed youths, (Freedom Fighters) in the community.
In a charge No CMA/425c/2019, the commissioner of police vs Prince Amour Udemude and Joe Ogbodu, the two journalists are been charged for misdemeanor to wit defamatory.
The state police command had before now abandoned the case and the plaintiff’s counsel took over after writing to the state ministry of justice for a fiat which was later granted.
Ogrih, at the resumed hearing, Tuesday, led by his counsel, Martins Omakor, acknowledged that he was called by Udemude to hear his own side of the story but was shocked to read a story on SaharaReporters and Big Pen online media, defaming him.
He described himself as a ‘reputable international businessman’ who has done much for his community and its environs.
The plaintiff who was been led in evidence burst into tears, pointing at Amour, one of the journalists, weeping and saying, “Amour, why did you do this to me, Amour, why did you did this to me, Amour.?”
At this point, the presiding magistrate, B.N. Anumadu, (Mrs), immediately drew the attention of the plaintiff’s counsel to caution his client, saying “Please this is court”.
At this junction, counsel to the plaintiff, Omakor, sought the permission of the court to tendered some computer print out of the said reports published by the online media as exhibits.
But, counsel to the Journalists, (defendants), Chuks Ebu, however objected to the admission of the computer print out, saying “they are public documents as such are not admissible in court.”
Continue, he said “Only documents that are Certified True Copies (CTC) are admissible in court and that’s the law.”.
The defendants’ counsel thereafter applied for adjournment of the case.
But the plaintiff’s counsel however objected to the adjournment, saying he was ready for the continuation of case and any adjournment would cost him and his client additional expenses in accommodation and transportation, and therefore appealed to the court to award a cost of N20, 000 to client.
After listening to both counsels, the Presiding Magistrate, B.N. Anumadu, (Mrs), granted the cost of N5,000 to the plaintiff against the defendants, and adjourned the case to April, 19 and May, 6, 2021 for continuation.