The hearing of Patrick’s first criminal defendant was held on the 15th of May. The defendant, who was been accused of stealing a mobile phone handset, had previously been released on bail. At the hearing he was acquitted of all charges and completely discharged from jail thanks to the efforts of Patrick and Mr. Felix Eghiase, another member of the Nigerian JusticeMakers team. They claimed that there was “no case” because of a lack of evidence before the court, and ultimately succeeded in setting the defendant free.
Building upon this success, yesterday Patrick reported that the team is well on their way to ensuring that the garage workers who were arrested in the case of the missing car are cleared of all charges. These men were arrested and charged with stealing a second-hand Toyota Camry from the garage where they worked. In the absence of any evidence against them, Patrick secured their release, however the police demanded that the accused report to the police station every day to continue the investigation. The accused appeared before the High Court of Lagos State where Patrick and Mr. Nwaka, another member of Patrick’s JusticeMakers team, applied for a leave of the court so that the defendants could enforce their fundamental human rights. They were granted leave, and the court officials were asked to give the police the opportunity to explain their reasons for the continued harassment of the defendants. The case has been adjourned until 2 June 2009.