Akwa Ibom State High Court sitting in Uyo has admitted into evidence, the confessional statement allegedly made by the first accused person to the Department of State Service, DSS, on June 10, 2021.
The first accused person, Uduak-Abasi Akpan; his father, Frank Akpan, and sister, Anwan-Bassey Akpan, second and third accused persons respectively are standing trial for the alleged rape and murder of 26-year-old job seeker, Iniubong Umoren.
Trial judge, Justice Bassey Nkanang, while ruling on the trial-within-trial conducted on February 15, 2022, admitted the confessional statement as Exhibit 18.
He held that during trial-within-trial, one significant piece of evidence that stood out in Defence Witness1 (Uduak-Abasi) was his categorical assertion that the statement sought to be tendered was not his statement and that he did not write it, implying clearly that he denied the entire statement.
Nkanang held: “Relevant judicial procedures posit that the implication of this is that the trial-within-trial ought to be discontinued at this point because rising from or disowning a statement affects only the weight to be attached to the document rather than its admissibility.
“Put differently, a confessional statement does not become inadmissible if and where the accused person that made it denies ever making it or retracts the confession on oath.
“It is the position of the law that a denial or retraction simply becomes a matter to be taken into consideration to decide what weight could be attached to it.
“Consequent upon the foregoing, the objection to the admissibility of the statement of the first accused person in the issue here is overruled.
“Accordingly, the extra judicial statement of the first accused person made on June 10, 2021, at the DSS, Uyo is hereby admitted in evidence and it shall be marked as Exhibit 18. This shall be the ruling in this trial within trial”
However, during cross examination to conclude his evidence, yesterday, the Call Data Analyst and an investigating officer with the DSS, Uyo, Ama Okeke testified that the 2nd and third accused persons, Frank Akpan and Anwan- Bassey Akpan, made their statements to his team on June 11, 2021 and September 3, 2021, respectively by themselves.
Okeke further testified that in the course of investigation, his team could not retrieve the voice calls adding: “But we were able to establish that the first accused person’s GSM number contacted the number of the deceased (Iniubong Umoren) between 1300hrs and 20:00hours.”
Upon the conclusion of prosecution, Justice Bassey Nkanang adjourned the case till March 16 and April 6, 11, 2022 for defence.