An attempt by Police authorities to prefer criminal charges and arraign Afrobeat musician, Seun Kuti without recourse to the Lagos State Ministry of Justice was rejected by a Yaba Chief Magistrate Court on Wednesday.
Based on the court’s ruling of May 16, and 18, 2023, the police was expected to transfer Kuti’s casefile to the Directorate of Public Prosecutions(DPP) for advise.
However, rather than following court’s directive, police lawyers on Wednesday came before the court with charges drawn by them as prosecutors, and were ready to arraign Kuti.
This attempt was however resisted by Kuti’s lawyer, Femi Falana SAN who insisted that the police must follow the directive of the court to the letter. Falana said the attempt by the police to prosecute the defendant on its own is not only an attempt to be a judge in their own cause, but also constitutes contempt, and insult upon the court, who in its wisdom directed the police to submit the casefile to the DPP for advice. He said the police cannot turn around now to prefer their own charges against the defendant. “The only agency that can do that is the DPP”, Falana said, urging the court to reject ” such provocative contempt”.
Police lawyer, Cyril Ejiofor however argued that the police has the power to arraign defendants before the court. He said what Falana was trying to do is to ask for stay of proceedings which is against the provisions of the Administration of Criminal Justice Laws of Lagos State.
In a short ruling, Chief Magistrate Adeola Olatubosun said that she had no reason to vary the order she made earlier on May 16, and 18. She said she still await the DPP’s advice in the case. She thereafter adjourned the case till July 3, 2023 for the presentation of DPP advice.
Kuti, who was released from custody on Tuesday night, had been on remand for six days on the orders of the court. The police had on May 16 applied for remand of the musician over alleged assault on a police officer.