Three men are to face trial at the Katsina State High Court over the death of a man they apprehend and tortured for allegedly stealing a goat.
The accused persons – Abdullrashid Audu, Abdulsalam Yusuf and Hamisu Auwali, and four others – were first charged before a Katsina State Chief Magistrates’ Court.
But the three men will now face charges of conspiracy and ‘culpable homicide not punishable with death,’ following the establishment of a prima facie case against them by the Katsina State Ministry of Justice.
The ministry recommended the trio for prosecution after reviewing the report of police investigation into the incident.
It, however, absolved the other four accused persons of any blame and recommended that they should be set free in accordance with Section 130(1) of the Criminal Procedure Code.
The four persons who have consequently been set free are Bala Haruna, 30; Umar Haliru, 69; Hudu Abdullahi, 40; and Abdullfatahu Audu, 40.
The seven accused persons were residents of Gingimi village in the Zango Local Government Area of Katsina.
They were initially charged before a Katsina Chief Magistrates’ Court over the alleged killing of one Kamilu Sule, alias ‘Sumaiye’ of Yardaje village in the Zango Local Government Area of the state last December.
The incident was reported at the Zango divisional police station headquarters by the deceased’s younger brother, Jamilu Sule.
The court heard then that the accused allegedly beat the deceased to a state of coma and forced a poisonous plant known as ‘Tinya’ into his mouth, leading to his death.
The outcome of police investigation into the case was thereafter sent to the Ministry of Justice for legal advice.
The legal advice read in part: “We are of the opinion that a prima facie case of culpable homicide not punishable with death exists against the 1st, 3rd and 6th suspects.
“The offence is triable by the high court; the charge will soon be filed against the suspects.
“The other suspects, i.e. 2nd, 4th, 5th and 7th, on the other hand, not only denied the allegation in their respective statements, but also there was no iota of evidence that would positively link them with the offence except hearsay evidences and that of the co-accused.
“In view of this, it is our humble opinion that the case against them cannot succeed, but they can alternatively be used as witnesses in the case. We advise that the First Information Report against the 2nd, 4th, 5th and 7th be terminated under Section 130(1) of the CPC.”
The presiding magistrate, Hajiya Falile Dikko, on Thursday directed the police to comply with the recommendations contained in the legal advice from the state Ministry of Justice.
She adjourned the case till March 19, 2018 for mention as all the accused, who were currently on bail, were absent from court.