A Federal High Court in Lagos on Tuesday granted bail in the sum of N3m to a blogger, Seun Oloketuyi, arraigned by the police for allegedly publishing defamatory story against the Chief Executive Officer of Fidelity Bank Plc, Nnamdi Okonkwo.
Oloketuyi had been remanded in Ikoyi Prisons since August 25, 2015 after he was arraigned on two counts of malicious publication against Okonkwo before Justice Mohammed Yunusa.
The accused blogger, who is the organiser of the Annual Best of Nollywood Awards, was granted bail on Tuesday following argument by his lawyer, Dr. Muiz Banire.
Banire, who led a team of nine lawyers, said Oloketuyi had the right to be granted bail by virtue of Section 158 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015, which stipulates that an accused should be presumed innocent until the prosecution is able to prove otherwise.
He also questioned the propriety of the charge filed by the police against the blogger, adding that “the offense with which the accused was purportedly charged is a bailable offense.”
Banire contended that the charge sheet did not disclose enough evidence against the accused and urged the court to exercise discretion in his favour.
“There is no proof of evidence; there is no list of witnesses that the prosecution intends to call; somebody just woke up one morning and wrote something on a sheet of paper, unleashing it on the court.
“My Lord, there is even no charge properly filed before this court in the first place. My understanding of the law is that you cannot just bring an ordinary sheet before Your Lordship,” Banire contended.
Banire, who said his colleagues and himself took up the case on pro bono, said there was no element of crime in the charge filed by the police against the blogger, saying what anyone who felt maligned with his publication should have done was to sue for libel.
He, however, pleaded with the court to consider the trauma that the aged mother of the accused would be going through. Online