Justice Adrian Fisher, presiding over Ikubolaje Nicol’s murder trial has refused an amendment of the indictment to manslaughter, made by the state prosecution on the ground that it seeks to deprive the accused of a fair trial.

The amendment from murder to manslaughter also seeks to remove the jurors from presiding over the case Justice Fisher’s ruling delivered on Tuesday 5th March 2024 further indicated that the said amendment appears to be in contravention of a supreme ruling, which ordered the case to be tried by a judge and jurors.

The presiding judge also referred to a particular supreme court ruling which he said. pointed out that jury trial is fundamental in common law, and noted that the action by the Attorney General is “ultra-viries”.

According to Justice Fisher, the ultimate goal is to ensure at the end of the day, there is a fair trial, but that the action of the prosecution is a way of abusing the process by taking advantage of the accused on a technicality.

According to the presiding judge, the court would have considered the amendment had the indictment been defective but pointed out that the indictment was not.

The argument put forward by Lawyer Yusif I. Sesay, representing the state, while making the application for amendment of the indictment, said the prosecution has to make correctness of charges and that the law gives power to the Attorney-General to amend an indictment at any time of trial.

Lawyer Rowland Wright, lead defense lawyer described the act as a way of denying the accused the right to a fair trial, which was upheld by the Supreme Court for a jury trial. He argued that the state could continue with the murder indictment and that the jurors could find the accused guilty of manslaughter at the end of the day.

He said the prosecution charged the matter to magistrate court on murder, proceeded to commit the matter to the high court, the accused took a plea, and the Supreme Court ruled ordering for trial by jury before the prosecution at the end of the day wanted to amend it.

This ruling came after a bail application for the accused had been refused by the court on the grounds that the offences of conspiracy to murder, murder and perverting the cause of justice levied against the accused, were serious offences.

The accused, Nicol was the Manager of Skye Bank.