One year after he was charged to court for assaulting a woman inside a sex toy shop in Abuja, Senator Elisha Abbo's case has been dismissed.
The emergence of a video that captured Abbo assaulting Osimibibra Warmate in May 2019 led to widespread outrage, and a teary-eyed public apology from the 42-year-old lawmaker.
The representative of Adamawa North Senatorial District was subsequently charged with two counts of criminal use of force and criminal assault when he was arraigned before a Chief Magistrates' Court in Abuja on July 8, 2019.
A report by The Punch says Abbo has now been discharged by the court because the prosecution failed to prove its case.
The magistrate, Abdullahi Ilelah, ruled that the evidence and exhibits tendered to the court did not prove the criminal charges against the lawmaker.
After the prosecution concluded its case, Abbo's legal team did not open a defence but filed a no-case submission, asking the court to dismiss the charges.
The prosecution had tendered to the court as evidence the video of the incident, captured by the shop's CCTV, the video of Abbo's public apology, and a medical report signed by one Dr Amobrose Ibegbule who treated the victim after the incident.
ASP Mary Daniel, the police officer who investigated the case, told the court that she could not access the original CCTV footage and had to make use of the one supplied by Warmate herself.
While testifying before the court, Warmate said Abbo punched her in the face and slapped her several times because she interfered in his dispute with the attendant at the sex toy shop after one of the women he came with fainted.
"He said he would make me a scapegoat for interfering and asked the two men to arrest me.
"The defendant (Abbo) pulled me by the hair and pushed me downstairs and to a car," Warmate said.
However, Ilelah ruled that her testimony was weak because the allegation had not been substantiated in any material particular.
The magistrate ruled that the doctor's report did not detail what happened to the victim, and faulted the prosecution for not calling Ibegbule as a witness.
He also ruled that ASP Daniel did not properly investigate the case and merely relied solely on the victim's statement.
"In fact, she has succeeded in creating a doubt in the mind of this court during cross-examination and the Supreme Court held that where there is a doubt in a criminal trial, such doubt should be resolved in favour of the defendant," the magistrate said.
He discharged the case under Section 303(3)(c) and (d) of the ACJA 2015.
A Senate committee was inaugurated last year to investigate the case against Abbo, but the committee's report has not been discussed by the upper chamber of the National Assembly due to the court case.