Seven out of the 18 suspects standing trial for the murder of the four students of the University of Port Harcourt, who were killed in October 2012, have been discharged by a Port Harcourt chief magistrates’ court.
According to the chief magistrate, Emma Woke, the seven persons were discharged on the advice of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) that they were arrested and charged to court on suspicion.
Those discharged on Thursday were Chinwo Cynthia (the only female suspect), George Nwadei, Ekpe Daniel, Gabriel Agburum, Finebone Jeffrey, Endurance Edet and Gabriel Ochie.
“It is a trite law that suspicion, no matter how strong, cannot take place of legal proof without concrete evidence to substantiate it, and as such, they were victims of circumstance and, therefore, charging and prosecuting them will be an exercise in futility.
“Similarly, no prima facie case of murder contrary to the above-mentioned section was disclosed against seven other persons, who were not charged to court, but were granted police bail after their arrest in connection with the matter.
“The charge against them should equally be dropped and they be released forthwith from custody,” the DPP’s letter to the chief magistrate read.
The DPP advised further that the remaining 11 accused persons, including Alhaji Hassan Walewa, the paramount ruler of Omuokiri-Aluu, be charged to the High Court to face trial.