Suspected serial killer, David West, Prison officers trade words in court over assault

david west, police

Tina Amanda

A Rivers State High Court sitting in Port Harcourt has again adjourned for the adoption of written addresses in the murder case of the suspected serial killer, Gracious David West.

West is standing trial for the murder of several ladies in hotel rooms in Port Harcourt.

The matter was adjourned for the failure of the Prosecution to serve 1st and 2nd Defendant written addresses.

Vincent Chuku, the Counsel representing 1st Defendant, Gracious West brought a complaint to the notice of the court that his client was being assaulted in prison by Correctional Officers.

He described the situation as uncontrollable as West cried all the way to the court hall after receiving several slaps from one of the armed officers in the Squad of the correctional Centre.

The Ist Defendant when granted an audience by the court to speak, complained of having toothache and bleeding due to slaps he got from the Correctional Officers while demanding for a facemask.

When asked for an explanation, the Correctional Officer told the court that Gracious David West has become so unruly and his actions are now a threat to the Center.

It was also brought to the notice of the court, of a journalist who was assaulted by one of the Correctional Officers, while trying to establish his shot when the inmates arrived at the court premises.

The presiding Judge, Justice Adolphus Enebeli, cautioned the Correctional Officers to desist from assaulting journalists, as it is constitutional for the media to cover activities in court for the interest of the general public, adding that the media is a mirror to the state and the world at large.

Justice Enebeli further advised the correctional officers to use other measures of resistance on the Defendant rather than assault him, stressing that the Defendant still has rights until the court finds him guilty.

The Judge said the Defendant needs to be alive to finish his trial and face his judgement, and adjourned to 14th August 2020, for the adoption of final written addresses.

However, the Judge offered to buy Ventolin (inhaler) for the 1st Defendant when he brought it to the notice of the court that his inhaler has exhausted.

Speaking to our correspondent Tina Amanda, Counsel representing the State Prosecution, Kemi Ogbunike, said they will do the needful before the next adjourned date.

“Counsel to the 2nd Defendant only served the Prosecution just yesterday, so the state Counsel needs time to reply, therefore the court adjourned and compelled the Prosecution to serve all parties within seven days to enable Counsels to respond on time and for the court to sit unfailingly for the adoption of final written address at the next adjourned date”

On his part, Vincent Chuku, Counsel representing Gracious West, said the Correctional Centre should stop judging his client before the law finds him guilty.

“We are not really happy with that development, it is unappreciated that the Correctional Centre Officers assault our client that is facing a capital offence. Our client has also informed us that the Correctional Centre has proved him guilty even before the court has said so.

“We are urging the correctional Center to undertake comprehensive medical treatment of our client because it is not good what they are doing to him. Even if the punishment is death, will they kill him before the conviction? The Correctional Centre is now taking over the role of the court to judge and to punish, we say no to this”

Also, Lezina Amegua, Counsel to the 2nd Defendant, said they were not able to serve the Prosecution in due time and that was the reason Prosecution could not serve the Defendants.