Although Justice Umukoro set him free, he condemned the inmate for stealing somebody's else means of livelihood and charged him to work with his hands instead of stealing.
The inmate had been in prison custody for four months. The Magistrate handling the matter had struck out the case and discharged him but surprisingly, he was still wallowing in prison custody.
But based on the court ruling, the Chief Judge ordered the inmate released back to society, saying "It will be wrong for a man who stole a bunch of plantain worth N7,000 to be in prison custody while those who stole billions are walking free on the streets."
While concluding his 2018 quarterly prison visit at the Warri Medium Security Prison, popularly known as 'Okere' Prison, Warri, Justice Umukoro freed a total number of 206 inmates and reviewed case files of 2,630 of awaiting-trial inmates in all the prisons visited across the state.
At the Warri Medium Security Prison, the Chief Judge reviewed a total of 875 case files of awaiting-trial inmates, releasing 56 of them; while at the Ogwashi Uku Prison, whereover 800 case files of inmates were reviewed, inmates were freed on the grounds of charges not known to law, ill-health, established cases of oppression, nolle prosequi by the Attorney-General and those not remanded by a competent remand warrant among others.
At the Warri Prison, a female inmate who had been standing trial for four years for wounding with intent was released by the Chief Judge after the victim appeared before him and affirmed on oath that she had forgiven her assailant and was no more interested in the case.
At the Kwale Prison, a total number of 53 inmates were freed while at Agbor prison, 25 inmates got their freedom; at Sapele prison, 34 inmates were released and at Ogwashu-Uku prison, a total of 38 inmates got their freedom.
Expressing worries over the increasing number of young persons in prison custody, Justice Umukoro said the trend should be a thing of concern to everyone, and therefore charged those freed to turn a new leaf and be useful to themselves and society.
The Chief Judge commended the Director of Public Prosecutions, Ernest Edomwonyi Esq, and members of his team as well as judges, magistrates, police, prison authorities and the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) for their various contributions for the success of the exercise.
He said the exercise was to ensure that inmates are remanded by warrant of a competent court of jurisdiction, to determine the health status of awaiting-trial inmates, as only the living can face trial, and to determine if the cases are diligently prosecuted, amongst other reasons.
Meanwhile, Justice Umukoro vehemently refused to entertain complaints in all cases related to kidnapping, murder, armed robbery and rape, as, according to him, these are heinous crimes, and inmates standing trial for such serious offences must face their trials and have their fates determined by the courts
The quarterly visit of the Chief Judge to the various prison facilities across the state was aimed at decongesting prisons across the state, reviewing standing cases and fast-tracking justice delivery. SHARE THIS NEWS USING ANY OF THE BUTTON BELOW PLACE YOUR TEXT ADVERT BELOW ⬇⬇⬇