Police cannot act as complainant – Court strikes out 2-year old case

An Enugu North Magistrates’ Court on Thursday struck out a two-year-old case involving one Henry Eze who was charged with malicious damage of properties worth N25,000.


The Magistrate, Mr Lawrence Ukpai, had adjourned the case on three previous dates to no avail as the complainant, one Elon, failed to show up in court on all adjourned dates.

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The prosecution counsel, Mr Kwe Kwe, explained that he had been unable to get across to the complainant via the phone number on his statement sheet.

Kwe also said that the investigating police officer had been transferred to his home state of Bayelsa.

He, however, argued that apart from being in the legal department of the law enforcement agency, he was also a police man and could assume the position of the complainant.

“The investigator had always been available on all adjourned dates except for today which is because he was transferred.

The defence counsel, Mr Emmanuel Ogbu, had objected to the continued absence of the complainant, saying that the police could not assume the role of the complainant.

“The complainant is the person that brings the complaint to the police upon which they charge the accused before the court, therefore the police cannot be the complainant.

“Since the complainant has always been absent from court proceedings, it applies that the court strikes out the case for lack of interest by the complainant,’’ Ogbu said.

Ukpai declared that if the crime was committed against the state, the law enforcement agency could be the complainant.

“However, the police have refused to present the complainant of this case, thereby the case is struck out,” he said.



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