As reactions continue to trail the Supreme Court’s ruling, ordering the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT, to suspend its trial of the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, a prominent human rights lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), has faulted the order.
The apex court had last Thursday ordered the Tribunal to puts it trial of Mr. Saraki on hold pending the determination of his appeal brought before it.
Saraki is standing trial on a 13-count charge for alleged false declaration of assets brought against him by the Federal Government while he was Governor of Kwara State between 2003 and 2011.
Reacting to the ruling, Mr. Falana in a statement on Sunday said it should not be allowed to stand because of what he called its “far-reaching implications and negative impact” on the administration of criminal justice in the country.
“Since the ruling is binding on all other courts in line with the hallowed principle of stare decisis, the Supreme Court should take advantage of the substantive appeal in the Saraki’s case to review its position with a view to confirming the abolition of stay of proceedings by section 306 of the AJCA (Administration of Criminal Justice Act).
“This clarification should be made, as soon as possible, in line with the letter and spirit of the AJCA. Otherwise, every accused person will continue to file interlocutory appeals and proceed to ask for stay of proceedings pending the determination of such appeals.
“The application will have to be granted as the hands of either the trial court or the Court of Appeal would have been tied by the erroneous decision of the Supreme Court in the case of Saraki v FRN”, said Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria
Explaining further why the ruling should not be allowed to stand, Mr. Falana advised the Supreme Court not to fall for the antics of those he described as “influential agents of impunity” in the legal profession, who he alleged have resolved to frustrate the trial of corruption cases by filing “cumbrous motions and frivolous preliminary objections designed to shield members of the ruling class from prosecution”.
“Our judges should realise that the inglorious era of engaging in dilatory tactics in criminal trials by defence counsel has been consigned to the dustbin of history”, Falana added.