Magistrate’s absence stalls defamatory trial against Ex-FRIN staff


The continuation of hearing in an alleged defamation case against a former staff of Forestry Research Institute of Nigeria (FRIN), Abraham Joseph, was on Tuesday stalled due to absence of Magistrate T.B. Oyekanm.

The News Reporter recalled that the defendant, Joseph, is facing a three-count charge of conspiracy, breach of public peace and publishing defamatory message against Prof. Adeshola Adepoju, the Director-General of FRIN.

News Reporter recalled that the matter was adjourned on Feb.14 for continuation of hearing until March 21, after cross-examination of the complainant, Adepoju, by the defendant’s counsel, Mr Olufemi Omotayo.

The continuation of hearing could not go on because the magistrate was said to be attending a training workshop.

The parties in the matter were asked to pick date and April 17 was picked for the continuation of hearing.

News Reporter also recalled that the Prosecuting Counsel, Mrs Aminat Ameen, had informed an Iyaganku Magistrates’ Court in Ibadan that the defendant and others now at large allegedly conspired with Sahara Reporters, an online medium, to publish a defamatory article against the Director-General of FRIN.

Ameen said that the publication was done by the defendant with the intention of tarnishing Adepoju’s reputation and causing a breach of public peace at the institute, knowing that the publication was false and could led to civil unrest within and outside the country.

She said that the incident happened on June 29, 2021 at about 2.00 p.m and that the offences contravened Sections 517, 375 and 249(d) of the Criminal Code Cap 38 Vol. II Laws of Oyo State of Nigeria, 2000.