In Lifestyle by Naijatweet Staff on the 08th, May, 2019

Four Nigerians Who Sneaked Aboard A Ship Bound For UK Get Set For Trial

Four Nigerians Who Sneaked Aboard A Ship Bound For UK Get Set For Trial


Four men thought to be Nigerians and arrested by the police in the United Kingdom are to remain in custody ahead of the resumption of their trial in October, the UK police told PREMIUM TIMES Wednesday.

 

The men were arrested after they sneaked aboard a ship which set off from Lagos, Nigeria, and allegedly threatened the crew

 

In an earlier exclusive email to Premium Times in January, the Essex police disclosed the identities of the suspects as Samuel Jolumi, 26; Ishola Sunday, 27; Toheeb Popoola, 26; and Joberto McGee, 20.

 

Apart from confirming that they are all men, the police did not disclose their names when they were arrested late December.

 

They were taken into custody on December 21 after 25 members of the British Navy’s Special Boat Service were deployed that day to regain control of the ship.

 

British Prime Minister, Theresa May, was said to have sanctioned the operation of the SBS, an elite naval unit in the UK, and the special commandos were flown on a helicopter to the vessel off the coast of Kent near the Thames Estuary.

 

The ship left Lagos on December 10 and the suspects were found when they allegedly threatened to harm the crew, according to the owner of the 71,000-tonne ship Grande Tema, Napoli-based Grimaldi Lines.

 

In what was going to be a deadly risk, the four stowaways were thought to be hoping the ship would sail close to the shore so they could swim to the land.

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They were first arraigned on December 24 before the Chemsford Magistrate’s Court and charged with affray.

 

In the UK, affray is a common law offence involving unlawful fighting, violence or a display of force by one person or a group of persons to the terror of others. The maximum penalty for the offence is five years (level 6) imprisonment.


On February 22, according to the Essex police in an email to PREMIUM TIMES on Wednesday morning, the suspects appeared before the Basildon Crown Court, also in Essex County, southeastern England, where they pleaded not guilty to the charge.

 

Separate checks on court proceedings showed they also denied charges of making threats to kill members on the crew before the appearance of the special rescue team.

 

“They pleaded not guilty to the charges and are due to stand trial at Basildon Crown Court on October 2,” a spokesperson for the police, Matthew Stanton, said in the email. “The court has remanded them in custody.”

 

To secure their conviction when their trial resumes in October, the police would have to prove the suspects used force or display violence aboard the ship and that in that circumstance, force or violence was unlawful and that action could ‘terrify’ others.

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