A chief Magistrate’s court in Port Harcourt on Thursday freed seven out of the 18 suspects arrested over the killing of the four University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT) students in Omuokiri–Aluu community in Rivers State.
The late students – Lloyd Toku Mike, Ugonna Kelechi Obuzor, Tekena Erikena and Bringa Chidiaka were lynched last year by a mob at Omuokiri Aluu on the suspicion that they were thieves.
The seven suspects were freed following the legal advice from the Rivers State Director of Public Prosecution (DPP).
Magistrate Emmanuel Woke discharged them after he read the advice dated 25th January 2013 before the court.
The legal advice read: “No prima facia case of murder contrary to Section 319(1) of the Criminal Code has been disclosed against them and as such the charge against them should be dropped and they be released forthwith.
“They were suspects who were arrested based on mere suspicion by police.
“It is a trite law that suspicion, no matter how strong, cannot take the place of legal proof without concrete evidence to substantiate it, and as such, they were victims of circumstance.
“Charging and prosecuting them will be an exercise in futility.”
The discharged suspects are Cynthia Chinwo, George Nwadei, Daniel Ekpe, Gabriel Ochie, Endurance Edet, Lucky Agburum and Finebone Jeffrey.
Meanwhile, the advice indicted one Hassan Welewa and 10 others for negligence in preventing the killings and active participation in the murder of the victims.
Woke said the 11 accused were to face other charges from the DPP.