As the Magistrate Court sitting in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State commenced hearing of the Deeper Life School scandal yesterday, the court barred journalists from covering the proceedings at its premises on Ikot Ekpene road.
Secretary of the court, whose identity could not be immediately ascertained, said since the matter was a juvenile case, nobody would be allowed to participate in the proceedings except the parties involved in the matter.
The Guardian recalled that the Akwa Ibom State Police command had arraigned seven persons in connection with the alleged sexual molestation and maltreatment of one Don-Davis Archibong, a student of Deeper Life High School in Idoro, Uyo two weeks ago.
They were arraigned on a four-count charge bordering on maltreatment of boys under 14 and thereby committing an offense punishable under section 556 of the criminal code, cap 38 Vol. 2 Laws of Akwa Ibom State 2000.
The minors were charged for assaulting Don-Davies Archibong, a crime punishable under section 218 (1) and section 362 (1) of the criminal code, cap 38 Vol. 2 Laws of Akwa Ibom State 2000.
But during the first appearance, the plaintiff, Mrs. Deborah Archibong was cautioned against commenting on the issue on social media since it was already in court.
Before now, Deborah’s video clips were seen on social media making several accusations over the alleged abuse of Don-Davies Archibong.
Counsel to the plaintiff, David Okokon, who spoke shortly after the proceedings, said the court followed the standard of proceedings as obtained globally in the juvenile cases, adding that was why journalists were not allowed to participate.
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Okokon explained that the mother to the molested boy only gave her part of the story equivalent to what she had told the press, adding that the court later admitted her statement to the police as evidence.
Counsel to the defendant, Nojin Tairu, said: “By standard when one has started proceedings, commenting on the nitty-gritty of the matter was not allowed.
“But I need to explain this so that we do not run foul of what is the standard practice. At the end of the proceedings, you will have all the facts and all that happened in court.”
However, the case was adjourned to February 10, 2021, for further hearing.
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