Court Issues Bench Warrant Against Publisher


A Lagos Chief Magistrate’s Court sitting at Tinubu, has ordered the arrest of the publisher of National Vision newspaper, Joe Igbokwe.

The court issued the bench warrant following a publication in an edition of his newspaper dated 7-21 February, which allegedly cast aspersions on the court.

The presiding magistrate, Mrs. M.A. Ladipo, said Igbokwe should appear before the court on 15 April to explain his publication.

The story in question was in respect of an attempted murder charge preferred against one Hillary Unachukwu by the police, pending before the court.

At the last hearing, the prosecuting counsel, Henry Obiaji, expressed surprise at Unachuchkwu’s absence and made reference to the publication, which he said, showed disrespect to the court.

According to Obiaji, it was published in the said newspaper that the court collected money to remand the defendant. He applied for a bench warrant against the defendant and Igbokwe to be arrested as he stood as surety for Unachukwu.

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The defence counsel, Mr. Kayode Oseni, said he was not aware of the publication and not sure if the publisher was the same as Joe Igbokwe who stood as surety for the accused.

Oseni further told the court that he received a medical certificate from a hospital that his client is receiving treatment.

Consequently, Mrs. Ladipo ordered the prosecutor to verify the authenticity of the medical certificate, warining, should the prosecution discover that Unachukwus is not on admission in a hospital, the prosecution should execute a bench warrant on him.

She then adjourned the case till 15 April, 2011 for trial to commence.

—Henry Ojelu

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