The Federal High Court, Ikoyi, presided over by Justice I. Nicholas Oweibo, will on May 13 rule on the admissibility of documents brought before the court in evidence against Azeez Fashola, a.k.a Naira Marley and also continue hearing in the entertainer’s trial for his alleged involvement in credit card fraud.
Naira Marley is standing trial on an 11-count charge of conspiracy and credit card fraud, preferred against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
At the resumed sitting, the prosecution, through its second prosecution witness, PW2, Augustine Anosike, an investigator and forensic expert with the EFCC, sought to tender in evidence a compact disc, CD, containing information, analysis and extractions from the defendant’s phone.
During his evidence at the previous sitting, Anosike had told the court that the forensic analysis that was carried out on Naira Marley’s iPhone revealed some shocking evidence against him, which were extracted and burnt into a CD, alongside some documents that were printed out.
Prosecution counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo presented the documents before the court and urged the court to admit them in evidence.
But, the defence counsel, Olalekan Ojo, SAN, however opposed the admissibility of the documents on the grounds that the CD does not have the proper authentication required by law, and therefore improperly obtained, as contained in the Cyber Crime Prohibition and Prevention Act, 2015.
Ojo also argued that there may have been interferences while the documents were being produced at the forensic lab of the EFCC, adding that the CD does not bear any name, title, department, but a signature which can’t be authenticated, and therefore urged the court to dismiss the admissibility of the documents.
Responding, Oyedepo said that there was no contravention of Section 39 of Cyber Crime Prohibition and Prevention Act, 2015 as claimed by the defence counsel, as what was sought to be tendered is the forensic content of the defendant’s iPhone, which was already admitted in evidence, adding that the extractions before the court are materially relevant to the charge.
Oyedepo also submitted that the desirability to admit the document overrides its non-desirability, because there was substantial compliance with the stationary requirement to admit them, adding that there was no break in chain of management of the exhibit, and therefore prayed the court to admit the documents.
Justice Oweibo adjourned the matter to May 13, 14 and 15 for ruling and continuation of trial.