The defence counsel in the ongoing trial of Frank Geng Quarong, the Chinese man alleged to have murdered his lover, Ummukulsum Sani Buhari (Ummita), has accused the state counsel of tendering a fake verbal autopsy on the deceased before the court.
At the resumed hearing before a Kano High Court on Wednesday, the defence counsel, Muhammad Dan-Azumi, said the evidence tendered as a verbal autopsy certifying the death of the victim by Murtala Muhammad Specialist Hospital in Kano, which the court admitted as exhibit D, was questionable in its entirety.
He argued that the document was not the original copy of the report obtained and tendered in black and white and on letterhead paper from the hospital.
He said, the report came 90 days after the said incident happened which he tried to obtain earlier but there was no response from the hospital till date.
Earlier, the court began with the hearing of the last prosecution witness, Police Constable Aminu Halilu, attached to the Dorayi Babba Police Division.
He narrated how the incident happened, the police involvement in the case, hospital certification and subsequently, the release of the corpse to the victim’s relatives.
Halilu further explained that after handing over the corpse for burial, he came back to the suspect, who was at the station, and took note of his side of the story.
“I came back to the police station where I met Mr Frank. I asked him to invite his relatives but he said they are in China but he will call a friend who worked at BBY Textile company and he (the defendant) called him through the phone but he did not come up for a few hours.
“Later on, he permitted me to take his statement in the presence of his relatives. He started narrating what happened between them from the day they met in 2019 up to 16th September, 2022.
“After, I read to him, and he understood and signed. After he signed, I took him to my superior, Saifullahi Bello, where he read the statement to him and he accepted what he read to him as true.”
He said he thereafter took the statement of the two witnesses, one Fatima Zubairu and Mustapha and then proceeded to visit the scene of the crime at Janbulo quarters of Kano metropolis and the next day, he compiled the case diary and the exhibit given to him (a sharp knife) and transferred the case to the state Criminal Investigation Department (CID) for further investigation.
The prosecution counsel, led by the state Director, Public Prosecutions, Aisha Muhammad, had earlier tendered evidence, the statement of the suspect, which the court admitted as exhibit C which the police constable recognised but the defendant denied and objected to it.
The defendant said he was forced to make the statement, threatened and pushed into a cell handcuffed.
The defence counsel called for trial within trial, but the judge argued that it was abolished in the ACJL relying on Section 38(7) of the ACJL and admitted the statement as exhibit C.
The judge, Justice Sunusi Ado Ma’aji, then closed the hearing of the prosecution counsel and adjourned the case to December 23, 2023.