‘Provide A Counsel’, Judge Tells Evans As Lawyer Fails To Appear Again

'Provide A Counsel', Judge Tells Evans As Lawyer Fails To Appear

 

The trial of alleged kidnapper, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike, popularly known as Evans before a Special Offences Court sitting in the Ikeja area of Lagos has suffered another setback.

The trial was again stalled on Friday following the absence of Evans’ lawyer, Mr Olanrewaju Ajanaku, who has been absent from three consecutive court proceedings.

At an earlier proceeding, Mr Ajanaku, through a letter, informed the court that Evans’ family was yet to perfect their brief with him, in terms of financial commitment.

The defendant is standing trial alongside three others – Joseph Ikenna Emeka, 29, Chiemeka Arinze, 39, and Udeme Frank Upong, 43.

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They were all arraigned on seven counts of murder, attempted murder, conspiracy to kidnap, and selling of firearms.

Since his arraignment in 2017, the suspected kidnapper has so far engaged the legal services of three lawyers – Olukoya Ogungbeje, Noel Brown, and recently, Ajanaku.

While Ogungbeje discontinued on claims that his life was under threat, it was not clear why Brown abandoned him.

The continued absence of a defence counsel prompted the court to order Evans to defend himself or seek the services of legal aid.

At Friday’s proceedings, the Chief State Prosecuting Counsel, Adebayo Haroun, asked the court to invoke Sections 233 (3) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law (ACJL) which empowers the court to appoint a counsel for the defendant.

Haroun said, “Where the defendant fails to secure a legal representation, the court has the discretion to order the legal aid counsel to provide a representation for the first defendant, Evans.

“This is the third adjournment taken on the instance of the first defendant. So, we urge the Lordship to invoke section 233 of the ACJL if the defendant fails to provide a counsel on the next adjournment.”

The prosecutor also informed the court that his witness who is a police officer, Inspector Idowu Haruna, attached to the Inspector General of Police Intelligence Response Team was in court to continue his evidence.

Following the submission of the prosecutor, Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo ordered Evans to defend himself or seek a new counsel.

The judge said, “I have told you (referring to Evans) the options; defend yourself, get a new counsel or I’ll appoint a legal aid counsel for you.

“This case is not just for you, there are other defendants involved. Therefore, the liberty of the second, third, and fourth defendants, who also demand justice, is also at stake and justice delayed is justice denied.”

“I’ll adjourn this matter till May 10 and by then, the must defendant must provide a counsel.

“However, in the absence of the counsel for the first defendant on the next adjourned date, this court will invoke Section 233 (3) of the ACJL and order the representation of the legal aid counsel for him,” Justice Taiwo added.

The police officer, who had begun his testimony at a previous proceeding told the court that Evans and his gang members shot the Young Shall Grow Motors chairman, Obianuju Vincent, and killed two of his escorts.

According to him, the incident occurred on August 27, 2013, at Third Avenue in Festac Town when Vincent was returning from a game house with his convoy.

Evans Trial: Witness Narrates How He Paid £223,000 As Ransom

Kidnap Victim Narrates Ordeal As Evans’ Trial Continues
This file photo shows Evans after he was arrested in 2017.

 

The trial of suspected kidnapper, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike popularly known as Evans continued today at the Lagos High Court Sitting in Ikeja with the testimony of the third prosecution witness, Uchenna Okeagwu.

Okeagwu explained to the court on Friday that he paid Evans the sum of £223,000 for the ransom of his boss, Donatus Duru.

While being led in evidence by the Director of Public Prosecution, Titilayo Shitta-Bey, Okeagwu said he was instructed by the kidnappers to drop the money inside a vehicle parked inside a compound somewhere around Mile 2.

“I am a manager at Maydon pharmaceutical company and have been working with them for over seven years. After we heard of the kidnap of Duru, we waited to hear from the kidnappers so we will know what to do to rescue him.

“As the manager of the Idumota branch, we worked towards raising money for the kidnappers when they asked for ransom. After about two months, I was called by Anselm Duru, Donatus’ brother to come and deliver the money to the kidnappers that they have raised £223,000.

“After counting the money, we put it in a polythene bag and wrapped it very well with sellotape and I went with the money. Anselm gave me his telephone that they would use it to direct me to where I would take the ransom to.

“I started receiving calls with the phone from the kidnappers saying I should make no mistakes that if I do, I would be shot. I was asked if I know the way towards Mile 2 and I said yes, I went with the money inside the vehicle, putting the money under the passengers’ seat in the front and I moved out of the compound towards Mile 2,” he explained.

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During cross-examination, defence counsel for the first, second, third and fourth defendants, Olukoya Ogungbeje, asked if he saw anybody when he dropped the ransom or gave it to anybody directly, the witness said no.

Evans, Uche Amadi, Ogechi Uchechukwu, Okwuchukwu Nwachukwu, Chilaka Ifeanyi, and Victor Aduba are facing a two-count charge of conspiracy and kidnapping before Hakeem Oshodi, a judge of the Ikeja Division of the Lagos State High Court.

Duru was the last victim allegedly kidnapped by the group before their arrest in June last year.

Evans had initially pleaded guilty to the charge of kidnapping but later reversed his plea.

Earlier, Mr Ogungbeje had told the court that he would refrain from further cross-examining the 2nd witness, Donatus Duru, who was the victim of the kidnap.

He told the court that the witness was refusing to answer his questions but preferred instead to give answers to questions he had formulated in his mind.

In response to his statement, the judge said, “It is quite unfortunate that the legal counsel can make such statement that the witness is not answering his questions, but it is his prerogative to conduct defence as he deems fit.

Further proceedings in the matter has been adjourned till June 22.

Absence Of Evans’ Counsel Stalls Proceedings

Absence Of Evans' Counsel Stalls Proceedings

 

Proceedings in the case against suspected kidnapper, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike, popularly known as Evans and five others were stalled on Friday at the Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja.

This was because counsel to Evans, Olukoya Ogungbeje, was absent in court, although he had written a letter to Justice Hakeem Oshodi to seek an adjournment of the case.

Evans and five others were arraigned before the judge on August 30, 2017, on two charges bordering on conspiracy and kidnapping.

The other defendants are Victor Aduba, Uche Amadi, Ogechi Uchechukwu, Okuchukwu Nwachukwu and Chilaka Ifeanyi.

Following a similar request by the Lagos State Director of Public Prosecutions, Titilayo Shita-Bey, Justice Oshodi court adjourned the matter till March 16.

Before the adjournment, the court, however, dismissed the bail application filed by Aduba.

In his ruling, the judge said he was persuaded by the prosecution’s argument that Aduba was a flight risk, especially as he had no relative in Lagos.

He also held that Aduba did not put in sufficient materials to make the court exercise its discretion in his favour.

Arraignment Of Evans On Fresh Charges Stalled

The arraignment of suspected kidnap Kingpin, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike popularly known as Evans, on fresh charges before Justice Adedayo Akintoye of a Lagos High Court sitting at Igbosere, has been stalled.

Justice Akintoye is the third judge before whom the high profile suspect has been dragged by the Lagos State Government.

The other two judges are Justice Hakeem Oshodi and Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo.

The arraignment before Justice Akintoye on Monday, November 13, could however not go on because the Prosecution is yet to serve the fresh charges on all the defendants counsel.

In the fresh charges, Evans and three of his alleged accomplices, Joseph Ikenna Emeka, Victor Aduba and Okapara Linus are facing five counts of conspiracy, kidnapping and attempted murder.

At the proceedings today, November 13, the third defendant’s counsel was absent, while the fourth defendant had no legal representation.

Evans who is the first defendant was represented by Mr Olukoya Ogungbeje.

Mr Ogungbeje and the second defendant’s counsel told the court today that the Prosecution had not made available to them all the amended charges against their clients

The Lagos State’s Director of Public Prosecution, Titilayo Shitta-Bey has told the court that the amended charges only introduces a fourth defendant, Okpara Linus.

Justice Akintoye has ordered the prosecution to serve the defence team with all the necessary information before the next adjourned date of November 24 for a possible arraignment on the fresh charges.