There was mild confusion at court 15 of the Rivers State High Court in Port Harcourt as the lawsuit between Barrister Christopher Green and China Acheru continued in Port Harcourt.
Green, Rivers State Football Association chairman, the claimant, sued Acheru, a journalist to court for defamation but it seemed his lawyers were not ready for proceedings and called for another adjournment.
Starting from where they stopped in February when the case was last heard, O. A. Alake, representing Chris Green asked the judge, Justice C. F. Dappa Addo for a new date to start off processes for serving a Writ of Summons, but E. Eleanya representing O. C. Higher King, Counsel to the Defendant, China Acheru suggested that the judge should strike off the case since the counsel to the claimant did not seem ready to continue.
According to Eleanya, O. C. Higher King who he was representing had filed a counter-affidavit saying the court has no jurisdiction to continue the case since his client was not properly served a Writ of Summons
Alake countered by saying she thought the bailiff who delivered the Writ of Summons should have responded to the counter affidavit and not them as counsels to the claimant.
At this point, Justice Dappa-Addo told Alake that it was not the place of the bailiff to respond to a Counter affidavit but for the counsel to the claimant to do so.
O. A. Alake again asked for time saying they thought that the bailiff should file and under those circumstances asked for more time to do so.
Counsel to the defendant, E. Eleanya reiterated that he did not think the claimant’s counsel was ready for proceedings to begin.
“We ask the court to strike out this matter. We attached documents to show the signature of our client proving that he did not receive any Writ of Summons nor sign for it,” Eleanya said.
He went on to suggest that the Claimant will pay for the cost of processes so far.
Counsel for the claimant, O. A. Alake further argued that their chambers shut down on March 28 due to the COVID 19 lockdown and did not open up until a week ago so there was no time and as such will not accede to paying any cost.
The judge agreed to an adjournment as both counsels agreed for Tuesday, July 14, 2020.
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When hearing opened on February 11, it started as a case of alleged signature forgery as the defendant argued that he never signed for nor received a Writ Summons even though there was a document and signature purported to be his when he was allegedly served.
After back and forth by both counsels on February 11, the judge asked the defendant, China Acheru to sign his signature on a piece of paper which did not seem similar to the one on the court document and the case was adjourned.
The bone of contention has been the Writ of Summons which the defendant insists was not served to him.