A Federal High Court sitting in Calabar and presided over by Justice Simon Amobeda has denied bail application filed by journalist, Agba Jalingo, on Friday, October 4.
Jalingo is facing charges of treasonable felony, terrorism, and plot to topple the Cross River State government.
The presiding judge, Justice Amobeda who also dismissed the preliminary objection of the prosecution counsel, held that one of the charges was punishable by death.
He also held that the defendant did not prove special and exceptional circumstances to compel him to apply his discretion and grant Jalingo bail.
In the alternative of granting bail, the Court also ordered an accelerated hearing on the case. The matter was adjourned to October 16, 2019.
Reacting to the ruling of the Court, counsel to the prosecution, Dennis Tarhemba, a Deputy Superintendent of Police said that: “The ruling is according to the law, who am I to question the rule of law in this country.”
He hailed the Court as, “an epitome of justice,” and explained that the case was akin to a race which must produce a winner.
“It is just a race, a judicial race and a legal race which ordinarily today, the prosecution has won their own submission before this honorable Court,” he said.
Mr. Jalingo’s counsel, Attah Ochinke told newsmen that: “The Court in the exercise of its discretion decided that enough reason was not given for Agba Jalingo to be granted bail today basically on the basis that insufficient information on his medical health was presented.”
Ochinke, a former Attorney General and Justice Commissioner in the Cross River State said the conditionality for the bail for the charges preferred against Jalingo were a little bit “strenuous than ordinary offenses,” adding that, “we still have remedies which we will revert to, to represent the application before the Court.”
He expressed worry over Jalingo’s health during the course of the trial.
Ochinke said: “His health condition is still a very big concern because even while in custody, he collapsed and the Police themselves were forced to rush him to the hospital for his revival.
“There is no doubt that he is in frail health. There is no doubt that his health will be a challenge during this period. We are hopeful that he will not remain in custody during this period – a situation that will endanger his health. We are hoping that enough will be done to ensure that he is alive while his trial lasts.”