An Uyo High Court on Monday reduced the stringent bail conditions imposed on a broadcast journalist, Kufre Carter, by a chief magistrates’ court.
Chief Magistrate Winifred Umohandy had last week imposed a N3 million bail on the journalist, who is being held by the Department of State Services over alleged defamation.
Justice Archibong Archibong reduced it to N200,000.
The court also threw out the conditions that the journalist should produce a surety who is either a permanent secretary or a civil servant of Grade Level 17 as well as an identification letter from his village head.
However, the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Uwemedimo Uwoko, filed a Notice of Appeal and a Stay of Execution against the judgment of the high court.
Responding to the judgement, the journalist’s lawyer, Mr. Inibehe Effiong, said: “The ruling is lucid, sound, convincing, expository and legally rooted.
Indeed, before close of work on Monday, we were fully ready to perfect the bail conditions. We have ALL what is required to perfect the bail of Kufre as stated in the fresh bail conditions.
There is no problem at all with the fresh bail conditions. Everything is ready.
We are deeply astonished that the Attorney General of Akwa Ibom State is challenging the variation of the stringent, excessive and unaffordable bail conditions imposed on our client by the Chief Magistrate. This is uncommon and uncanny in the legal profession.
As lawyers, we will respond without delay to their application for stay of execution. We cannot comment publicly on the merit of same. We will allow the Honourable Court to decide on the merits of same.
It is however a tragedy of historic proportion that the Executive Arm of Government in Akwa Ibom State has taken this scandalous route.
Instead of focusing on proving his purported defamation case at the Magistrate Court of Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Nwoko is telling the world that he can do whatever he likes with his office in his effort to keep Kufre Carter perpetually in the SSS custody.
We are however confident that the law is above him and those whose interest he is propagating. We are certain that evil machinations by enemies of justice will not prevail.
We will continue with our efforts to enforce the subsisting Order of his Lordship, Hon. Justice Archibong Archibong, in respect of the bail of our client.
We shall overcome.
History will vindicate the just.”