There was mild drama at the Bayelsa state high court sitting in Yenagoa on Thursday following the refusal of the former state security aide ,Chief Perekeme Kpodoh, to open his defense in the case of rape brought against him by the state government, asking the presiding judge, Justice Eradiri and the state special prosecutor, Barr. A.S Arthur, to disqualify themselves from handling his case.
Chief Kpodoh, through his defense counsel, Barr. E.G Okele, said though the defense team should have opened Chief Kpodoh’s defense before the court presided over by Justice Eradiri, the case asking the presiding judge to disqualify himself is before the court of appeal and that the state government fiat handed to Barr. Arthur to prosecute the accused has expired with his elevation to commissioner in the cabinet of Governor Seriake Dickson.
Chief Kpodoh, who was dragged before the state high court 7 headed by Justice Eradiri last year, is being prosecuted by the special prosecutor, A.S. Arthur based on a special fiat handed him by the Governor Seriake Dickson administration to prosecute violent crimes in the state.
At the resumed hearing of the case on Thursday, the defense counsel led by Barr. E.G Okele , declined to open its defense citing pending case of appeal at the Appeal Court over the call on the judge to disqualify himself from the trial and the issue of status of the fiat handed by the State Special Prosecutor to continue the process on the case due to his elevation as a commissioner in the state without the renewal of the fiat.
Barrister Okele, the defense counsel and Special Prosecutor, Arthur disagreed on the application filed before the court of appeal as the reason for not commencing the defense case.
Both counsel also locked horns over the issue of the status of the Special Prosecutor to continue as prosecuting counsel in the alleged Rape case against Chief Perekeme Kpodoh before the Presiding Judge,Justice Eradiri.
The defense Counsel, Okele told the presiding judge that the special prosecutor’s right to appear on the alleged rape case against Chief Kpodoh was covered by the fiat from government,” he was a special prosecutor with a fiat from the attorney general. The fiat does not cover him anymore. If he is to continue, he has to be given a fresh fiat from attorney general.”
The Special Prosecutor, Barr. A.S.Arthur, however, defended his position as special prosecutor with an alleged valid Fiat from the office of the State Commissioner of Justice, “I am still the Bayelsa State special prosecutor. I t is in my letter of appointment. it was clearly stated. I still hold the office and does have the disability to appear on the matter. Only the Attorney General can reverse it or when am appointed a magistrate.”
” Even if I become a deputy Governor of the State, I can decide between using the Fiat or not. I am still in the employment of the Government as special prosecutor and Commissioner.”
A claim which threw the Court into uproar as the Defence Counsel threatened to drag the Bayelsa prosecutor, Barr. A.S.Arthur to the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCT) over the alleged collection of double slariea from the state governor.