A United States’ court has dismissed the case against Olalekan Jacob Ponle (Woodberry) who was arrested alongside his friend and close associate Ramon Olorunwa Abbas (Hushpuppi) over serious allegations of internet fraud.
Woodberry was extradited to the United States on July 2 after his arrest in Dubai to face charges relating to wire fraud.
Woodberry whose real name is Olalekan Jacob Ponle was accused of defrauding several companies in the United States of money running into several millions of dollars.
All of the allegations against Mr Woodberry was summed up to an eight-count charge of wire fraud, which carries a sentence of up to 20 years in prison.
Earlier indicted by a grand jury, a US court has on Tuesday struck out Mr Woodberry’s case after the US government filed a motion through its attorney, John R. Lausch, requesting that the case against Mr Ponle should be dismissed without prejudice.
The motion was filed on Monday and was granted on Tuesday by the sitting judge, Robert W. Gettleman.
“Without objection, the complaint against defendant Ponle is dismissed without prejudice. Motion presentment hearing set for 7/23/2020 is stricken,” Mr Gettleman ruled.
So what does this “dismissal without prejudice” mean for Mr Woodberry?
Unlike a dismissal with prejudice, a dismissal without prejudice does mean a defendant’s case is permanently over.
A case that is dismissed “without prejudice” is only dismissed temporarily. This temporary dismissal means that the plaintiff is allowed to alter and re-file the charges or even take the case to another court.
Recall that Hushpuppi’s case was recently transferred from Chicago where he was initially held to California.
Will Woodberry be released after this “dismissal without prejudice”?
Likely not. In most cases, when a prosecutor files for dismissal without prejudice, it is to buy time to redo the charges and file again. The defendant, in cases of serious criminal offences, will remain in detention till the case is re-filed.
However, if the prosecution does not re-file charges in time, the defendant may be released.
A case may be dismissed without prejudice for a number of reasons. A prosecutor may choose to dismiss a case without prejudice in order to have time to address a weakness or issue with their case.
Another reason a prosecutor may choose to dismiss a case might be to file a new one that is more serious than the original, or less.