A chief magistrate’s court sitting in Makurdi, the Benue State capital on Thursday sentenced the Executive Secretary of Teaching Service Board, Makurdi, James Pine, to five months imprisonment.
Pine was charged to court for assaulting his subordinate on March 13, 2016.
Pine was charged with assault and criminal use of force, an act punishable under Section 268 of the Penal Code Laws of Benue State 2004.
Delivering judgment, Dan Ogoh held that witnesses called by the prosecution testified to the effect that they were at the TSB headquarters and saw that the convict slapped and pushed the complainant to the ground.
He said the defence could not dislodge the testimony.
The trial magistrate said, ‘The avalanche of evidence of prosecution point to the same direction and conclusion establishing that the offence was committed.’
The magistrate thereby sentenced Pine to five months imprisonment with an option of N10,000 fine.
A team of prosecution lawyers led by Demeer Adi of Damsa, Damsa and Co. called three witnesses.
Pine had during the trial denied assaulting or using criminal force against Asema and said under cross-examination that it was wrong for a chief executive officer to slap a subordinate.
His counsel, Ambrose Ikpa, argued that the case of the complainant was a desperate attempt to prosecute the head of secondary school education in Benue State, having earlier prayed for a “no case submission,” which was discountenanced by the court.
This judgment makes it the second time that a top official of Benue State Government would be sentenced for an offence of assault and criminal use of force.
The first public officer in the state to receive the sentence was Magdalene Damkor, the then Rector of College of Advanced and Professional Studies Makurdi.