A mild drama played out in court 15 of the Rivers State High Court presided over by Justice C.F. Dappa Addo on Tuesday as what appeared to be signature forgery marred the opening of hearing in a suit between former NFF suit Chris Green and Port Harcourt journalist China Acheru.
Green, a Special Adviser to the Rivers State governor on the State’s Real Madrid Academy, filed defamation charges against Acheru after the journalist claimed the former NFF technical director was after his life.
Hearing in the case, however, failed to proceed.
While counsel to the claimant, A. B. Odili told the judge that they were ready to begin, Barrister O. C. Higher King, a renowned Human Rights lawyer in Rivers State who represented China Acheru told the bewildered judge that he did not know why they were in court.
According to Higher King, he came to court on the day with his client, China Acheru simply because he (Acheru) on December 9, 2019, received a Notice of Hearing for February 11.
Higher King added that the legal process was simple as a Writ of Summons should have been sent earlier to make them understand why they were in court and give them time to prepare their defence but none of that happened.
He immediately asked for an adjournment so the right legal process can be followed.
At this point, Odili, representing Chris Green laughed it off accusing the defence of playing games because they were not ready for the case.
He added that the court bailiff duly handed over the Writ of Summons to China Acheru who signed that he had received it, a charge that the defendant denied.
The judge, speaking to Acheru asked him if he was China Acheru of Wish FM and he answered in the affirmative. Looking at the document in her hand, Dappa Addo told the defendant that the document in her possession showed that he signed to receive it on July 16, 2019, but he insisted that the only court bailiff he met was on December 9, 2019, for the Notice of Hearing which he duly signed for and collected.
At that point the judge asked that the defendant be given a piece of paper to sign his signature to be compared to what they had on the Writ of Summons which he did and without making known her observations on both signatures, she asked the defence counsel what he wanted and Higher King insisted that the case must be adjourned until the legal process of serving a Writ of Summons is followed which the counsel of the claimant rejected, insisting that he was sure the defendant was lying because, “He has already been sending emissaries to beg my client which means he is aware of this case.”
Barrister Odili then suggested that they will only accept an adjournment if the defendant, China Acheru pays a default fee of N200, 000.00 (Two hundred thousand naira) which was rejected by the defence lead counsel.
Eventually, the judge, Dappa Addo after observing the two signatures in her possession ruled for an adjournment to March 19, 2020, without the option of a fine.