Court imposes N20m fine each on 3 pirates convicted for hijacking of vessel


“During the proceedings, Binaebi Johnson, Daniel Lemmar and Ghane Gordon pleaded guilty to counts 1 and 2 and not guilty to counts 3 – 5 while the remaining 6 accused persons pleaded not guilty to the charges against them.

“Accordingly, the prosecutor applied to the court to withdraw the charges on which the accused persons pleaded not guilty.

“The prayer was granted and the accused persons were discharged on counts 3 – 5,” he said.

Dahun said during the hearing, the prosecution filed an amended charge dated Aug. 7.

He added that the court refused to grant bail to the other accused persons who pleaded not guilty because they  may not make themselves available to stand trial if granted bail.

“Consequently, the court arraigned the accused persons on the amended charges.

Dahun recalled that the Nigerian Navy had arrested Binaebi Johnson, Daniel Lemmar, Ghane Gordon, Hassan Hakeem, Gregory Smith, Ofem Uket, John Mark, Chidi Amadi and Eze Amadi who were suspected to be members of the kidnapping syndicate that hijacked the vessel.

He said that it was reported that the kidnappers demanded for a 2 million dollars ransom out of which 200,000 dollars ransom was eventually paid.

Dahun said after their arrest by the Nigerian Navy, the suspects were arraigned before the FHC, Port Harcourt on July 23 on a 7 count charge to which all the accused persons pleaded not guilty.

“As a result, the counsel to the accused persons made an application for bail pending conclusion of the trial.

“Accordingly, the matter was adjourned to Aug. 10, 11 and 12 for ruling on the bail application and commencement of the trial,” he said.