Court rejects govt’s report on Okah’s health status

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A Federal High Court yesterday rejected the report of a medical examination conducted on suspected terrorist, Charles Okah, by the Federal Government. The trial judge, Justice Gabriel Kolawole, in a ruling, ordered that a fresh medical assessment that will reveal Okah’s current mental state be conducted within 15 days.
His decision was sequel to observation raised by defence lawyer, John Ainetor, about some inconsistencies contained in the report.
Okah is being tried with Obi Nwabueze over the 2010 Independence Day twin bombing in Abuja which caused the death of about 12 people, leaving several others injured.
Four people, believed to be members of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) led by Henry Okah (currently serving jail term in South Africa) were originally arraigned before the court in December 2011 over the incident.
One of them, Tiemkemfa Francis Osvwo a.k.a General Gbokos, died later while another, Edmund Ebiware, who had his trial conducted separately, was sentenced to life imprisonment.
At the last hearing on December 4 last year, Justice Kolawole, upon complaint by Ainetor that Okah was not mentally fit to stand trial, ordered a psychiatric evaluation on him.
Yesterday, Justice Kolawole gave a copy of the medical report from the National Hospital, Abuja, dated January 9, 2014 to lawyers on both sides to read.
The report was signed by a Senior Consultant, Psychiatrist with the National Hospital, Dr. O. T. Ephraim Oluwanuga.
After reading the report, lead prosecuting lawyer, Alex Iziyon (SAN), argued that from the report, it could be deduced that Okah was fit to stand trial. He said he was ready to proceed and sought the court’s permission to continue with the trial.
Ainetor objected, noting that the report contained some contradicting information. He observed that while the concluding part stated that Okah could stand trial, part of the findings contained in the body of the report stated otherwise.
He noted that in pages two and three of the report, the medical expert, who examined his client observed that he (Okah) suffers from “Psychotic depression, fatigue, disorder and auditory/visual hallucinations.”
Ainetor argued that in view of the contradiction in the findings and conclusions contained in the report, there was need for further evaluation of the accused person.
He applied that the judge orders that a fresh examination be conducted on Okah to specifically, ascertain his mental state.

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