The protracted legal tussle between the state and three suspected kidnappers of Chairman of G.U.O Motors Limited, Chief Godwin Okeke was, yesterday, brought to a conclusion with the discharge and acquittal of the accused persons for lack of proof by an Anambra State High Court sitting in Onitsha.
In his judgment, the trial judge, Justice Alexander Okuma said that the court does not rely on speculative evidence to convict a person or persons being charged with commission of criminal offences, adding that the evidences of the prosecution witnesses against the accused persons were not weighty enough to convince the court that they were guilty as charged.
Justice Okuma noted that for instance, there was no concrete evidence to prove that the first accused person, Kelechi Okafor, who the kidnappers engaged to sell Okeke’s vehicle for them, after they snatched it from Okeke’s driver when he went to deliver the N30 million ransom to them, had any knowledge that it was a stolen vehicle before he took it to Lagos where the intending buyers on seeing the vehicle particulars, discovered that it belonged to Okeke, who they said they read in newspapers that he was recently kidnapped and as a result, refused to buy the vehicle.
In the case of the second defendant, Anthony Okafor, Justice Okuma held that there was contradiction in the evidences against him by the prosecution witnesses that he was not among the gang that kidnapped Okeke, adding that it appeared to the court that the prosecution mistook him for one Chukwudi Agu (a.k.a. Small Black), who later jumped bail after confessing to the police at the state headquarters of Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS, Awkuzu, that he was one of the gang members.
Justice Okuma insisted that since the prosecution could not prove their allegation against the defendants beyond reasonable doubt, as required by law, as far as the kidnap incident was concerned, the court had no other option than to discharge and acquit them for lack of enough evidence.