Court Takes Uduak-Abasi Akpan's statement to the DSS as evidence - OLAMORE
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Court Takes Uduak-Abasi Akpan’s statement to the DSS as evidence

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Akwa Ibom state High Court sitting in Uyo presided over by Justice Bassey Nkanang 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.

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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.

Justice Nkanang while ruling on the trial within trial conducted on February, 15,2022 on Thursday admitted Uduak- Abasi Akpan’s confessional statement as Exhibit 18.

He held that 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.

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“Relevant judicial procedures on point posits that the implication of this is that the trial-within-trial ought to be discontinued at this point because risiling 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.

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“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 the 10th day of June 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”, Nkanang held.

However during cross examination to conclude his evidence on Thursday, the Call Data Analyst and an investigating officer with the DSS, Uyo, Ama Okeke testified that the 2nd accused persons, Frank Akpan and third accused person, Anwan- Bassey Akpan made their statements voluntarily to the DSS team by themselves on June,11, 2021 and September 3, 2021 respectively .

When PW10 sought to tender the 2nd and third accused person’s statements in evidence, their Lawyer , Abasiodiong Ekpenyong did not raise any objection to the admissibility of both statements.

Accordingly, the Court admitted the statements in evidence and marked the statement of second accused person as Exhibit 19, while the statement of third accused person was marked as Exhibit 20.

Prosecution Witness also testified that the DSS got involved in investigation of the case based on a letter from the State Attorney general through the Ministry of Justice of Akwa Ibom state, requesting further investigation into the matter.

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”

Witness equally testified that his team did not visit the scene of the crime because, by the time the matter was brought to the DSS the scene had already been tampered with.

He also told the court the reason he queried why the autopsy report was incomplete saying,: “My Lord, from the autopsy report, when I compare it with the picture of the exhumed body there were a lot of things that were missing.

“Example the Jeans-trouser tied on her neck, blacked cloth stuffed into her mouth, several cuts on her head were not captured in the autopsy report”

Upon the conclusion of prosecution, Justice Bassey Nkanang, adjourned the case till March 16th, and April 6, 11, 2022 for defence.

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