An Akwa Ibom Magistrates’ Court sitting in Uyo, on Wednesday, started afresh the trial of suspects in the alleged molestation and maltreatment of an 11-year-old JSS1 student of the Deeper Life High School, by two senior students and some school officials.

It was gathered that the magistrate, who started the trial of the two minors on January 20, 2021 behind closed doors, had been transferred. The new magistrate read the charges afresh to the minors, who pleaded not guilty.

She adjourned the case till March 3, 2021 for further hearing. Speaking to journalists after the proceedings, the counsel for the complainant, David Okokon, explained that the trial could not continue from where it stopped because of the transfer of the magistrate, who started it.

He stated, “Today was supposed to be for cross examination of the nominal complainant, who is the mother of the molested child. Since the former magistrate was transferred, a new magistrate had to start afresh. That is the procedure since the case has not gone far. And to start afresh is to call in the accused persons and read the charge to them again. The accused persons pleaded not guilty as they did before.

“The new magistrate said they should remain on the existing bail, because already they are on bail, and then adjourned the matter till March 3. So, that was just what happened in court today (Wednesday).”

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