The trial of the suspected killer of Miss Iniubong Umoren, a graduate job seeker in Akwa Ibom State continued on Wednesday amidst heavy security.
On arriving at the venue of the trial located along Wellington Bassey Way in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom capital, our correspondent observed as stern-looking security operatives barred journalists from taking pictures or visuals of the accused.
Twenty-one-year-old Uduak-Abasi Frank Akpan is being prosecuted on two counts bordering on rape and murder of the victim which is punishable under Section 326 (1) of the Criminal Code, Cap 38, Vol 2, Laws of Akwa Ibom State 2000.
He is being accused of killing Umoren on April 29 at Nung Ikono Obio village in the Uruan Local Government Area of the state.
He is also charged for rape under Section 367 of the Criminal Code, CAP 38, Vol 2, and Laws of Akwa Ibom State 2000.
Meanwhile, his father, Frank Akpan has also been accused of assisting him to escape after murdering his victim.
The suspect had earlier pleaded guilty for murder but pleaded not guilty for rape.
During Wednesday’s trial, the first witness, who is also the victim’s sister, Ifiok Umoren, was called as the principal complainant.
After testifying, the prosecution requested an adjournment to ensure that necessary logistics that will enhance a speedy prosecution are put in place.
Accordingly, the presiding judge, Justice Bennett Ita Umoh adjourned the hearing to November and December after the commencement of the new legal year.
The dates for the presentation of evidence and accelerated hearing are November 2, 4, 10 and December 1, 2, 13, 14 and 15.
Counsel to the 1st accused, who is also the State Coordinator of Legal Aid Council, Akwa Ibom, Barrister Dula Samson, briefed journalists after the proceedings.
“We opened the case of the first accused today, the first witness who is the sister of the murdered Iniubong testified in part,” he said.
“She has not concluded her examination in chief. The case will continue after the vacation. I am Confident that Justice will be served speedily.”
Counsel to the family, Barr Utibe Nwoko, also briefed journalists.
He said, “Pre-trial has been concluded and real trial commenced by calling the first witness who is the principal complainant. She has testified to a point where the prosecution desired that the case be adjourned so that some necessary logistics that will enhance speedy prosecution be put in place.
“The case was adjourned to dates in Nov after the commencement of the new legal year. The dates are: 2,4,10, November 1,2,13,14,15 days of December for the presentation of evidence so that accelerated hearing can commence.”
On his part, Counsel to the 2nd accused person, Barr Ems Ekomson, implored all to avoid making negative public statements that could derail the course of justice in the case.