…wife in tears, peaceful family resolution sought
From Chuks Collins, Awka
An Awka Magistrate Court has sentenced a middle aged man, Mr Joseph Nnajiofor to two months community service of clearing the magistrate court’s premises or one month imprisonment, and five hundred thousand Naira fine as compensation to the complainant for monies spent to track him down when he jumped bail in the contempt charge preferred against him.
The defendant in suit ref Maw/162c/ 2016 was charged for giving false and misleading information to the police, that his younger sibling and other members of their family including Ozo Chief Obiekwe Nnajiofor, Rev Cannon Kenneth Maduka, John Nnajiofor, Christopher Nnake, Okechukwu Nnajiofor, Joseph Ifeatu Okonkwo and others kidnapped and took him to Agu Enugwu-ukwu, a location outside Awka where according to him they beat, injured and stabbed him severally all over his body and abandoned him to bleed to death; knowing same to be complete false and mere fabrication of lies.
The police told the court that Joseph Nnajiofor in view of the false misleading information which led to the initial arrest of the complainants therefore committed an offence punishable under Sec 154(1) of the criminal Code Cap 36 Vol 11, Revised Laws of Anambra State of Nigeria 1997 as amended.
He earlier took his plea and bail was granted to him, unfortunately for him he was eairler charged and sentenced to five months imprisonment in another court in the same Awka magisterial district for another offence. He then applied for bail pending appeal at the High Court, which was granted. After the High court heard the bail application it revoked his bail and was ordered to complete his sentence, that was when he absconded and never appeared in court to face the pending charge in suit Maw/162c/2016.
Consequently, his surety showed cause and paid the bail bond of two hundred thousand Naira (N200,000). The court noted that an intense search for him which took detectives to all parts of the federation for more than eight months. He was finally apprehended by the police, a private tracker and logistics from the complainants.
He was then charged to court for contempt in charge Ref MAW/169c/2020 on June 15,2020 where he pleaded “guilty with reasons” and the court kept him in custody for him to defend his case. During proceedings on June 24,2020, the Police prosecutor, ASP Onyemelam Kalu appeared for prosecution while G.B Obi Esq holding a watching brief for the complainant and C.S Agbom Esq appeared for the defendant(Joseph Nnajiofor’).. the defendant informed the court that he was all the while observing proceedings from where he was in hiding, the wife in open court informed the court she was the one that paid the bail bond of the surety.The defendant’s counsel Mr Agbom pleaded with the court that the defendant wants to change its plea,the contempt charge was read over and he pleaded guilty.
ASP Kalu gave statement of facts, how they searched for the defendant, and the huge resources spent in the process which led to catching him eventually after about eight months. Mr Joseph Nnajiofor’s counsel pleaded (Agbom) then pleaded with the court for mercy and promised to pay compensation to the complainant. He also sought for family intervention, as wife broke down in tears.
The court after considering the statement of facts, the plea of the defendant counsel and the aggravating factors, the relevant offending law and punishment for contempt therefore sentenced him to two months community service or a month imprisonment and five hundred thousand Naira compensation to the complainant. Mr Joseph Nnajiofor choose the community service. Meanwhile trial will commence in the main charge on a date to be fixed next month.