Former spokesman of the Peoples Democratic Party PDP, Olisa Metuh was brought to court today on a stretcher in compliance with an order of a Federal High Court, Abuja that he must attend court or have his bail revoked.
Justice Okon Abang in a ruling on January 25, rejected a medical report tendered by Mr Metuh’s lawyers, claiming he was on admission in an hospital.
Instead, the judge ordered Metuh to attend court today or have the bail earlier granted him revoked.
In compliance with that order, his lawyer ensured he was brought to court early today in a white ambulance, belonging to the National Hospital, Abuja.
He was later taken into the courtroom on a stretcher, with the assistance of some medical personnel, friends and relations.
He was covered with a white cloth, with an opening only in his head area, possibly to allow him breathe. He had bandage on his legs and neck area.
Mr Metuh and his company, Destra Investment Limited are being tried on allegations of corruption and money laundering.
When proceedings opened, Metuh’s lawyer, Onyechi Ikpeazu SAN told the court that his client was in court in obedience to the court’s order, but was not in a good state to stand trial.
He sought a month’s adjournment within which Metuh would have been fit enough to stand trial.
Lawyer to Destra, Tochukwu Onwugbufor SAN agreed with Ikpeazu’s position.
Prosecution lawyer, Sylvanus Tahir did not object to an adjournment, following which Justice Tsoho adjourned to March 14 for possible continuation for trail.
At the conclusion of proceedings around 10.15am, Mr Metuh was again moved out of the courtroom, still on the stretcher, into the ambulance stationed close to the court’s main entrance.
It could be recalled that the Court had Mr Metuh to be present at his trial on February 5 (today) or face jail.
Justice Okon Abang gave the order when he delivered ruling in an application filed by Mr Metuh, seeking an adjournment to his trial on health grounds.
The judge said that the letter, which Metuh wanted the court to rely on to grant the adjournment, was not a proper document before the court.
“I agree with the prosecution that the purported letter written by O.C. Ekweogwu, who is unknown to the court, is trash and a useless paper meant for the dustbin, which was dumped on the court by the defence.
“The said letter was fraudulently smuggled into the records of the court by a person unknown to the court with the intent to stall proceedings.”
The judge said that there was a laid down procedure for filing a medical report in court.
He said it was not the place of a medical practitioner to write a lengthy letter with several medical terms that were meaningless to the court.
“The medical practitioner is to state the name of the illness and the period that the person will be incapacitated,” the judge said.
The judge further said that although the application by the prosecution to revoke Metuh’s bail and commit him to prison deserved to succeed, he would not grant it based on compassionate grounds.
“It is my humble view that the application of the prosecution to revoke the defendant’s bail deserves to succeed, but I have given due consideration to the arguments of counsel to the defendant.
“In view of the passionate plea of the defendant’s counsel who I have respect for, I hereby suspend my decision to revoke bail, but I ask that the defendant turns a new leaf,” said the judge.