The first accused person on the ongoing murder case of Miss Iniobong Umoren, Uduak-Abasi Akpan yesterday denied writing the confessional statement presented as evidence against him in court.
Uduak-Abasi Akpan told the Court that he did not see and also did not know the content of the statement, adding that he only signed the statement involuntarily., claiming he was just meeting ASP Kanu Ekpezu for the first time.
The suspect’s denial followed a testimony by a Police Officer attached to the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department SCIID, Homicide section, ASP, Kanu Ekpezu, before Akwa Ibom State High Court sitting in Uyo in the ongoing trial of Uduak-Abasi Akpan, his father, Mr. Frank Akpan and sister Anwan-Bassey Akpan
Ekpezu who appeared in Court as the 9th Prosecution Witness (PW9) told the Court that the Anti-kidnapping unit, Ikot Akpan Abia Uyo handed over Uduak-Abasi Akpan, his father Mr. Frank Akpan , first and second accused persons respectively to the SCIID, and both made their statements voluntarily by themselves.
He also told the Court that the Anti-kidnapping Unit also handed over to him, the following exhibits, a spade, a QLink stabilizer, and a piece of dirty clothe which were recovered from the scene of murder.
The witness who further testified that Uduak-Abasi Akpan, made his statement in the Senior Police Officers (SPOs) office, and not in an interrogation room, recalled that three other Snr. Police Officers including Inspector Ofonime Archibong were in the SPOs office when he (Uduak-Akpan) was writing his statement by himself.
“My Lord, the first accused person,(Uduak-Abasi Akpan) was handled over to me from the Anti-kidnapping unit Ikot Akpan Abia, on 2nd day of May 2021. I received him in the SPOs (Snr. Police Officers) office. The first accused person made his statement by himself in the SPOs office voluntarily, and not in an interrogation room.
“I gave him my table and Chair to sit and write his statement. I gave the first accused person a statement form and pen and asked him to write what happened and how late Iniubong Ephraim Umoren died in his house. I was not with a cane, nor with a machet, a gun a stick, or an Axe”, Ekpezu testified.
The Prosecution Counsel, Mr. Friday Itim tendered the Spade , QLink Stabilizer and piece of Cloth, which were admitted in evidence and marked as exhibits 9, 10, and 11, respectively by the trial Judge, Justice Nkanang.
But, when the prosecution sought to also tender the confessional statement of Uduak-Abasi Akpan, his Lawyer Mr. Samson Adula raised an objection, arguing that his client did not sign the statement voluntarily.
Upon the insistence of Adula, that the statement allegedly written and read by his client should not be admitted in evidence by the Court until its voluntariness was determined, Justice Nkanang ordered that mini trial to be conducted.
During cross examination, PW9, told the Court that it is not true that the confeesional statement made by the first accused person were responses from the questions the police officers had asked him.
He further testified that the second accused person, Mr. Frank Akpan was not there in the SPOs office when the first accused person made his statement.
Asked if the accused was video recorded while he was writing his statement, PW9 simply responded, “No my Lord”
“When they brought that sheet of paper which I did not see, or know what was inside, they now asked me to sign the statement. In order to avoid further violence on myself I signed it”.
Asked if he was blind folded when he signed the statement, Uduak-Abasi Akpan responded, “I was not blind folded”
The trial Judge, Justice Bassey Nkanang adjourned the case till February 8, 2022 for ruling on the mini trial, and for continuation of hearing.
Recall that Uduak Akpan had confessed to the crime when he claimed to have used reversed psychology on his victim, when he was paraded by the police to newsmen. He had also pleaded guilty during his first appearance in court.