TONY JOHN, Port Harcourt
The absence of a legal representative for a notorious Rivers State serial killer, Gracious West, has stalled the arraignment proceedings at the State High Court in Port Harcourt.
The state police command had, after about a month of arrest, arraigned the accused before Justice Adolphus Enebeli of the Rivers State High Court, sitting in Port Harcourt.
West, 39, is facing a murder trial in Suit Number PHC/3426/CR/2019, as charged by the Inspector-General of Police through the command.
When the matter was mentioned for plea, the trial judge, Justice Enebeli, adjourned till Tuesday, following the absence of the defence counsel after the prosecution counsel mentioned appearances.
Justice Enebeli cited the Rivers State Criminal Justice Act, which gives the accused person to right to have a lawyer for justice and fairness.
The judge, therefore, ordered the accused serial killer to ensure he presents his lawyer on the next adjourned date or be ready to accept any nominated counsel by the court to represent him.
Speaking with newsmen outside the courtroom, the prosecution counsel, who is the Officer in Charge of Legal, Rivers State Police Command, Gladys Gimegu, noted police’s readiness to prosecute the matter. She said the accused would be returned to the court on Tuesday for his trial.
It would be recalled that the accused serial killer, West, during his parade at the state Police headquarters, Moscow Road, in the state capital, confessed to killing about ten females at different hotels in the state.
The suspect was nabbed by men of Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) along Ogoni-Akwa-Ibom axis of the East West road.