The Magistrate Court sitting in Kaduna State has dismissed the suit filed by the Kaduna State Commissioner of Police against the Kaduna-based journalist Midat Joseph.
Mr. Joseph, the Kaduna State Bureau Chief of Leadership Newspaper, was arrested and detained on April 19, 2017 over a comment he had made in a WhatsApp chat. He was later released on bail after spending two nights in police custody.
The journalist was charged with criminal conspiracy, inciting disturbance, and injurious falsehood.
Prosecutors assigned to the case, however, failed to appear in court for both the first and second hearings.
The counsels to Mr. Joseph, James Kanyip and Maxwell Kyom, consequently moved for the case to be dismissed due to the failure of the prosecutors to appear in court, citing section 165 of the Criminal Procedure Court Laws of Kaduna State.
Chief Magistrate Emmanuel Yusuf then struck out the case for lack of diligent prosecution.
The defense counsels also asked for a restraining order preventing the police from arresting Mr. Joseph.
The judge declined to grant Mr. Joseph a restraining order, but acquitted Mr. Joseph of all charges preferred against him.
Reacting to the judgment, Mr. Joseph tearfully thanked God, his team of lawyers, the management and staff of Leadership Newspaper, media colleagues, and civil rights organizations for their support.
“The judiciary is indeed the last hope of the common man,” Mr. Joseph said. “The lies against me have been buried and may the name of the lord be praised.”