The court said there was no point for the witnesses billed to be called to testify in the matter to wear masks and bear pseudo names and addresses so as to facilitate their protection
The Federal Government on Tuesday lost its bid at the Federal High Court in Abuja to conduct secret trial of the immediate past National Security Adviser (NSA), Colonel Muhammad Sambo Dasuki (rtd), on charges of unlawful possession of firearm and money laundering brought against him in September 2015.
The Court said that there was no point for the witnesses billed to be called to testify in the matter to wear masks and bear pseudo names and addresses so as to facilitate their protection.
Delivering his ruling in an application for secret trial, Justice Adeniyi Ademola held that the Federal Government had in the charge against Dasuki listed the names and addresses of 11 witnesses to be called to testify against him and made same available to the general public and as such there was no basis for any hide and seek game in Dasuki’s trial.
Justice Ademola said that there was no basis to grant the request of government to make the witnesses wear special mask, bear pseudo names and addresses because the charges were not terrorism charges and that there was no information that the life of any of the witnesses billed to be called was being threatened by anybody of group.
The Court held that although, it has discretion to look into such issues of protection of witnesses in a criminal matter, such discretion must be judicially and judiciously used only in cases where threat to life has been established by the prosecution.
In the Dasuki case, Justice Ademola said that government failed to establish any fact that lives of its witnesses were under threat and as such no court of law would grant such requests without established reason.
The Judge had earlier on also turned down an application filed by the former NSA asking that the charges brought against him be quashed, because the federal government has continued to keep him in detention in contempt of the court.
In the alternative he ordered the Federal Government and its agents, the Department of States Security Service (DSS) to henceforth allow the detained Dasuki to have access to his lawyers and family members in the interest of justice and the rule of law. Trial has been adjourned till May 18 and 19, 2016