Chief Magistrate Court sitting in Uyo admits a padlock as exhibit in the trial of a staff of the Akwa Ibom State Government House

A Chief  Magistrate Court sitting in Uyo, has admitted as exhibit, a padlock allegedly used by a staff of the Akwa Ibom State Government House, in breaking into the Office of the Deputy Governor with the alleged intention of stealing money and removing documents pertaining to a query issued to a driver in that office.

The admission of the key came as a member of the Police investigating team, Corporal Celestine Otu, testified before the court on the matter, which is between the Commissioner of Police and the accused person, Aniekan Paul Archibong.                              

The accused person, a thirty-seven year old staff of Computer and Cash Unit, Office of the Deputy Governor, Uyo, is facing a two count charge of stealing, punishable under Sections four-three-four and five-four-five of the Criminal Code, Laws of Akwa Ibom State.

At the resumption of trial on Monday, Prosecution Counsel, tendered as exhibit, a big padlock allegedly used by the accused person to break into the Deputy Governor’s Office.

While the court admitted the key, it however rejected pieces of stones also said to have been used by the accused in committing the act.

Also rejected were pictures of the scene of the incident and a certificate of authenticity, tendered by the Investigating Police Officer, who is the fourth Prosecution Witness in the matter.                      

The rejection of the exhibits followed an objection raised by the defense Counsel, Barrister Harrison Ernest, on grounds that they were in the police custody, arguing that photographs produced from a digital camera should have what he called “a digital captured image retainer, which was not tendered before the court.

But, the Prosecution Counsel objected, arguing that the serial and identification numbers of the pieces of stones might have fallen off from the sack bag that contained the exhibit.

On the issue of pictures, Barrister Inyang, a Senior State Counsel, quoted Section 84 of the Evidence Act, which provides for admissibility of documents, including pictures produced by computers, with a condition that such documents are attached with a certificate by the person who produced the said documents.                             

After listening to both counsels, the court adjourned to the 15th of September, 2016 for ruling on admissibility of the rejected exhibits.

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