UK Judge Dismisses Torture Case Against Charles Taylor’s Ex-Wife

UK To Boost African Partnership With £30m

 

A British judge on Friday dismissed torture charges against the ex-wife of the former Liberian president Charles Taylor, relating to the west African country’s bitter civil war.

Agnes Taylor, 54, had denied accusations of being involved in the torture of a child and conspiring to use rape to torture women during the conflict in the 1990s.

Prosecutors alleged that all seven offences were committed when she was “a public official or person acting in an official capacity”, and were linked to her “official duties”.

Taylor, a former lecturer at Coventry University in central England and whose address was given as Dagenham, east London, had been due to go on trial in January next year.

But judge Nigel Sweeney, sitting at the Old Bailey Central Criminal Court in London, threw out the case following legal argument. The prosecution indicated it would not appeal.

The judge did not read out his ruling in open court.

But he said she could not be charged with torture as a crime against humanity or a war crime because the alleged offences took place before relevant legislation was introduced.

Taylor, who left Liberia in 1992 and divorced her husband four years later, followed proceedings via video-link from prison, where she has been held on remand.

Her ex-husband was Liberian president from 1997 to 2003. He is currently serving 50 years in a British jail for his role in fueling civil conflict in neighbouring Sierra Leone.

Taylor was the first former head of state to be jailed by an international court since the Nazi trials at Nuremberg in Germany after World War II.

He was convicted in 2012 on 11 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity over acts committed by Sierra Leone rebels he aided and abetted during the war.

He was transferred to Britain in 2013.

His ex-wife was accused of acting in a de facto official capacity for the National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL), which the president is said to have set up.

Judge Sweeney said the key issue in the case was whether at the time of the alleged offences, the NPFL was actually in charge of the relevant areas and exercising “official or quasi-official functions or powers which a government or governmental organisation would exercise”.

He rejected prosecution assertions that the group, in rounding up, detaining, torturing and killing civilians, was carrying out the functions of a government.

AFP

Gunmen Kidnap Another Judge In Edo

 

Gunmen have abducted another judge this time in Benin City the Edo state capital.

Justice Chioma Nwosu-Iheme of the Benin Court of Appeal was kidnapped today on her way to the court.

The Edo State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Dan-Mallam Mohammed, who confirmed the incident to Channels Television, says a manhunt has been launched to track down the gunmen and rescue the judge.

READ ALSO: Ambode’s Probe: Court Adjourns Case Till Nov 20

Justice Nwosu-Iheme is known to be Nigeria’s first female judge to study law up to the Ph.D. level, specialising in the law of intellectual property.

Her abduction comes days after a federal high court judge in Akure, Ondo state justice Abdul Dogo, was freed by kidnappers who had abducted him on Tuesday last week at the border between Edo and Ondo states.

Justice Dogo was rescued on Saturday by operatives of the inspector general’s intelligence response team from a forest behind the federal college of education in Itakpe, Kogi state.

Judge Kidnapped In Edo Regains Freedom

Alleged Fraud: Judge Withdraws Over Defendant’s Plea For Favour

 

The Federal High Court judge, Justice Abdul Dogo, who was kidnapped on Tuesday at Ibilo, in Edo state has been rescued.

A police source confirmed to Channels Television that Justice Dogo was rescued in the early hours of today by operatives of the inspector general’s intelligence response team.

He said Justice Dogo was released from a forest behind the Federal College of Education in Itape, Kogi state.

READ ALSO: Gunmen Abduct Akure Federal High Court Judge

Although the victim was said to have sustained a minor injury, he has since been reunited with his family in Abuja.

The gunmen had demanded a 50 million naira ransom but it was not confirmed if any ransom was paid.

Justice Dogo of the Federal High Court Akure in Ondo State was kidnapped along with his driver at the Ibilo/Isua Akoko axis, a border area between Ondo and Edo states, on their way from Abuja to Akure.

US Judge Deals Blow To Trump’s Border Wall Plans

A helicopter overflies the US-Mexico border in Playas de Tijuana, Baja California state, Mexico, on November 21, 2018.  Guillermo Arias / AFP

 

A US federal judge dealt a blow on Friday to President Donald Trump’s signature wall project, issuing a temporary injunction against using Defense Department funds to pay for barriers on the border with Mexico.

Trump declared an emergency in a bid to bypass Congress and obtain money for border wall construction after a standoff overpaying for the project led to the longest government shutdown in US history.

About 20 states, including Democratic strongholds New York and California, along with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), environmental groups and border communities are involved in suits that claim the emergency declaration violates the constitution.

Trump administration officials “are enjoined from taking any action to construct a border barrier in the areas defendants have identified as Yuma Sector Project 1 and El Paso Sector Project 1 using funds reprogrammed by DoD,” Judge Haywood Gilliam ordered, referring to the Department of Defense.

Trump said he was asking for an “expedited appeal.”

“Another activist Obama appointed judge has just ruled against us on a section of the Southern Wall that is already under construction. This is a ruling against Border Security and in favour of crime, drugs and human trafficking,” he said in a tweet.

Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan approved the diversion of funds from the department’s counter-narcotics budget to build barriers along with parts of the border — a move that was in turn funded by the diversion of $1 billion from army personnel funds, according to Gilliam’s order.

The judge wrote he granted the preliminary injunction because the plaintiffs are likely to show that Trump administration officials “exceeded their statutory authority and that irreparable harm will result from those actions.”

 ‘Unlawful power grabs’ 

“Congress’s ‘absolute’ control over federal expenditures — even when that control may frustrate the desires of the Executive Branch regarding initiatives it views as important — is not a bug in our constitutional system,” Gilliam wrote.

“It is a feature of that system, and an essential one.”

The case — which was brought by plaintiffs including the Sierra Club environmental group — names Trump as well as Shanahan, acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin as defendants.

“We applaud the court’s decision to protect our Constitution, communities, and the environment today,” Sierra Club managing attorney Gloria Smith said in a statement.

“We’ve seen the damage that the ever-expanding border wall has inflicted on communities and the environment for decades. Walls divide neighbourhoods, worsen dangerous flooding, destroy lands and wildlife, and waste resources that should instead be used on the infrastructure these communities truly need,” Smith said.

“Yet again, the American people have had to look to our courts for a check on President Trump’s unlawful power grabs.”

Trump made the construction of a wall to stem illegal immigration from Latin America central to his successful 2016 campaign for the presidency.

But despite saying Mexico would pay for the barrier, he has had to ask Congress for money to make the project happen, and the tug-of-war over funding for the barrier caused a record 35-day federal government shutdown beginning on December 22, 2018.

AFP

‘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.

READ ALSONo-Case Submission: Onnoghen Files Notice Of Appeal Against CCT Ruling

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.

Alleged Money Laundering: Second Judge Disqualifies Self From NBA President’s Trial

Alleged N1.4bn Money Laundering: Second Judge Disqualifies Self NBA President's Trial
NBA President, Mr Paul Usoro, addressing a press conference in Abuja in December 2018.

 

A Federal High Court judge sitting in Lagos has recused himself from handling the N1.4bn money laundering charge preferred against the President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr Paul Usoro.

At the resumption proceedings on Thursday, Justice Chuka Obiozor said, ” For personal reasons, I hereby disqualify myself from handling the case, I hereby return this case file back to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court for reassignment to another judge.”

The NBA President was scheduled to be re-arraigned before Justice Obiozor on Thursday after the case was re-assigned to the judge in January.

This followed a request by the NBA President granted by the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Adamu Abdu-Kafarati, for a change of judge.

READ ALSOAGF Asks INEC To Recognise APC Candidates, Postpone Polls In Zamfara

On December 18, 2018, a former President of the Bar and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Wole Olanipekun, who led Mr Usoro’s defence team had drawn the court’s attention to a letter written by his client to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, seeking the transfer of the case from Justice Muslim Hassan, to another judge in Lagos or to any judicial division between Uyo and Abuja.

The NBA President is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on 10 counts bordering on fraud.

He was alleged to have conspired with some others to convert the sum of N1.4 billion, property of Akwa Ibom State Government, which sum they reasonably ought to have known formed part of the proceeds of unlawful activity.

The offence was allegedly committed in May 2016.

The commission also alleged that Usoro conspired with others, to commit the offence within the jurisdiction of the court.

Also named in the charge is the incumbent governor of Akwa Ibom, Mr Emmanuel Udom, who is described in the charge as being “currently constitutionally immune from prosecution”.

Others charged are the Akwa Ibom State Commissioner for Finance, Nsikan Nkan; Accountant-General of Akwa Ibom State, Mfon Udomah; the Akwa Ibom State Attorney-General, Uwemedimo Nwoko, and Margaret Ukpe.

The defendants were said to be at large.

Mr Usoro has, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge.

Justice Hassan subsequently admitted him to bail in the sum of N250 million with one surety in like sum.

You’ll Be ‘Sent To Jail’ If You Don’t Appear, Judge Warns Obanikoro

You’ll Be ‘Sent To Jail’ If You Don’t Appear, Judge Warns Obanikoro
A file photo of Senator Musiliu Obanikoro

 

A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has ordered a former Minister of State for Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, to appear in court at the next adjourned date or he would be arrested.

Senator Obanikoro who is testifying as the fifth prosecution witness in the trial of the immediate past governor of Ekiti State, Ayo Fayose, was scheduled to continue his evidence under cross-examination on Thursday.

He, however, failed to appear in court.

The trial judge, Justice Mojisola Olatoregun, who was not pleased with the development said she would not hesitate to order Obanikoro’s arrest should he fail to appear at the next adjourned date of March 18.

“If he fails to appear, he’ll be sent to jail and they’ll be bringing him from there with Black Maria,” the judge said.

She added, “He must present himself to the court at the next adjourned date or be compelled to do so.”

READ ALSOFunds Received From NSA Are Not Illicit, Obanikoro Tells Court

Counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Rotimi Jacobs had told the court that Senator Obanikoro was in the hospital.

He subsequently presented a medical report from a clinic said to be located in Ikoyi area of Lagos.

Justice Olatoregun, however, held that if the court were to take up the matter and verify the medical report, the hospital and the doctor who signed the document could lose their licence.

She said she would only permit an adjournment because of the counsel who was a very responsible member of the Bar and not because of the medical report.

“If I want to pursue it, the medical doctor may lose his license for issuing this report. But I will accept this because you (Jacobs) are a responsible member of the inner bar,” she said.

Despite the absence of the witness, the court listened to arguments on whether a statement made by Justin Erukaa, the late Special Assistant to the former governor, could be tendered and admitted as evidence, especially as he was not a party to the case.

A defence counsel, Olalekan Ojo, had argued that the statement was relevant to the case because Erukaa made the statement in the course of the investigation.

“In law, the first litmus test of admissibility is relevance. Obanikoro said in his testimony that he sent Erukaa on errands, including to collect over $1million and that he came to meet him in Ekiti,” he said.

Ojo noted further, “In law, a statement made to the EFCC in the course of an investigation is admissible in evidence without the maker being called as a witness or being a party to proceedings.

“It is not the law that a document which is not tendered through the maker is not admissible,” the Senior Advocate of Nigeria added, relying on sections 39 and 83 of the Evidence Act.

But the EFCC counsel opposed the move to tender the statement, arguing that it was not admissible in law.

He said the sections relied on by Ojo were not applicable in the circumstances, stating, “he wants to smuggle the statement in.”

According to Jacobs, certain conditions must be met before a statement made by a dead person could be tendered, including that the person must have appeared in the proceedings.

At the next adjourned date of March 18, the court would rule on whether to admit the statement in evidence.

Fayose is on trial for allegedly receiving and keeping N1.2billion and $5million said to have been stolen from the Office of the National Security Adviser, contrary to the Money Laundering Act.

He had pleaded not guilty when he was arraigned on 11 counts in October 2018.

Buhari’s Suspension Of Onnoghen Is Dictatorial, Says Atiku

‘Choose A Date And Time’: Atiku Challenges Buhari To Debate

 

 

The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar on Friday called President Muhammadu Buhari’s suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen “an act of dictatorship”.

Atiku said the decision was a “brazen dictatorial act” and “the latest action in the ongoing rape of our nation’s hard-earned democracy”.

President had earlier announced that Chief Justice Walter Onnoghen would be suspended pending the conclusion of a trial on charges of failing to declare foreign currency bank accounts.

Atiku however, accused him of trying to manipulate the judiciary, which would rule on any dispute in the forthcoming elections on February 16.

President Buhari defended the suspension, saying the government was keeping its promise on the fight against corruption.

But Abubakar said the suspension was “an anti-democratic act” and “geared towards affecting the outcome of the 2019 presidential elections”.

He added: “This brazen dictatorial act is the latest action in the ongoing rape of our nation’s hard-earned democracy by those who dined with anti-democratic forces”.

The decision is “symptomatic of the increasing desperation that President Buhari and the cabal pulling the strings have as February 16, 2019 draws near”, he said.

Onnoghen on Thursday secured a Court of Appeal injunction ordering the lower Code of Conduct Tribunal to halt the case, pending a ruling on his application to dismiss the charges.

READ ALSO: ‘Beware Of PDP, Atiku’s Restructuring Deceit’, APC Warns Ndigbo

Atiku questioned why due process was not allowed to run its course and called for the international community to threaten “strong consequences” for anyone involved.

Below is a full text of Atiku’s reaction to the suspension of Chief Justice Walter Onnoghen.

“The Purported Suspension of CJN Onnoghen is an Act of Dictatorship Taken too Far

“Abuja, Nigeria, 25 Jan 2019: The purported suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria by President Muhammadu Buhari, is an anti-democratic act which I reject in its entirety and call on Justice Onnoghen and the judiciary to resist with every legal and constitutional means that they can muster.

This brazen dictatorial act is the latest action in the ongoing rape of our nation’s hard-earned democracy by those who dined with anti-democratic forces, and is symptomatic of the increasing desperation that President Buhari and the cabal pulling the strings have as February 16, 2019 draws near.

“The fact that the unlawful suspension of Chief Justice Walter Onnoghen was announced just as it became public knowledge that the CJN was constituting the election petition tribunals is not lost on discerning Nigerians and the international community. This act of desperation is geared towards affecting the outcome of the 2019 Presidential elections.Indeed, it is not just the CJN that has been “suspended”, it is the Nigerian Constitution that has been infracted and, in effect, suspended, under the guise of the suspension of the CJN.

“The case involving the legality or otherwise of the charges against Chief Justice Walter Onnoghen is in court, as it should be. So far, the judiciary has ruled in Justice Onnoghen’s favour. So, why not allow the court to adjudicate on the matter? What is the pressing urgency?

“I want to seize this opportunity to call for unity amongst the judiciary. Do not let the Muhammadu Buhari administration divide you. Do not let this government turn you against yourselves. The judiciary is the last hope of the common man and the defender of our democracy.

“I also urge the international community to follow the commendable example of the United States and the United Kingdom by intervening to make those involved in this undemocratic act know that their actions will have consequences. Strong consequences.

“And to the Nigerian electorate, I call on you to save your beloved country from dictatorship by voting against President Muhammadu Buhari’s desperate war against the judiciary. Our country is falling apart under the leadership of President Buhari and it is time to stand up for democracy.

Signed:

Atiku Abubakar

Waziri Adamawa

Presidential Candidate of PDP & Vice President of Nigeria, 1999-2007”

Judge Adjourns Trial Of Offa Robbery Suspects

Judge 'Reluctantly' Adjourns Trial Of Offa Robbery Suspects

 

The State High Court sitting in Ilorin has adjourned the trial of five suspects accused of robbing banks and killing several people in Offa last year.

Justice Halimah Salman reluctantly adjourned the case on Friday after the new prosecutor pleaded with the court to give him more time to properly study the case.

Professor Wahab Egbewole told the court that he was ready to present four police officers as witnesses, but he was given fiat to proceed with the case by the Attorney General of the State on Thursday.

 

The defence counsel, Mr Mathias Emeribe, did not object to the adjournment.

He, however, said he was prepared for the prosecutor to show that they have the capacity to do well in the case.

Justice Salman thereafter adjourned the case till January 25 and stated that she reluctantly took the decision.

She, therefore, warned the prosecutor to be serious about the case.

READ ALSO: Offa Robbery: Absence Of Witnesses Stalls Suspects’ Trial

 

The suspects were alleged to be among the armed men who stormed the town in Offa Local Government Area of Kwara State in April 2018 and robbed some banks.

Justice Salman had adjourned the case on Monday last week due to the absence of witnesses and exhibits by the police to prosecute the case.

The Director of Public Prosecution, Mr Jimoh Mumini, had informed the court that all the witnesses in the case were policemen who investigated the incident.

“No witness was taken from Offa where the robbery took place and none from Kwara State,” Mumini had told the trial judge.

In her ruling, the trial judge vacated the order of definite hearing earlier given on November 13, 2018, and adjourned till January 18.

Brazil Judge Suspends Probe Into Aide To President’s Son

Brazil’s President Bolsonaro/ AFP

 

A Brazilian supreme court judge has halted an investigation into suspicious transactions handled by an aide to a politician son of President Jair Bolsonaro, officials said Thursday.

The injunction, issued Wednesday, was confirmed by Rio de Janeiro state authorities overseeing the probe into the “atypical financial movements” in accounts in the name of Fabricio Queiroz, a police officer who serves as driver and bodyguard for Bolsonaro’s eldest son Flavio Bolsonaro.

The reason for the injunction, issued under conditions of secrecy by Justice Luiz Fux, was not made public.

Jair Bolsonaro took office on January 1 after easily winning October 2018 elections by promising a stern crackdown on corruption.

A government financial monitoring agency detected suspect transactions totaling 1.2 million reais ($300,000), the Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper reported in early December.

The movements occurred between January 2016 and January 2017 and flagged attention because they were not compatible with Quieroz’s police salary.

One of the transactions was a deposit of 24,000 reais made to an account in the name of Jair Bolsonaro’s wife.

Flavio Bolsonaro was a lawmaker in Rio de Janeiro’s state legislature at the time. In October he won a seat in the federal senate, which starts sitting in February.

Brazilian media said the judge issued his order following a request from Flavio Bolsonaro.

Quieroz has been summoned several times to testify as to the source of the transactions but has failed to do so, asserting health problems.

The Rio de Janeiro state prosecutors’ office said on Monday that it could move forward with a case against him regardless, if sufficient evidence existed.

In a television interview late December, Quieroz denied acting as a front for the Bolsonaros and said the money came from side businesses he ran, “buying cars, selling cars.”

The president has tried to downplay the affair, saying that if any “mistake” was made it would be “paid.” He said the payment from Quieroz’s account to his wife’s was partial repayment of an undeclared loan he had made to his son’s driver.

Jair Bolsonaro, an avid Twitter user, made no immediate comment on the injunction or the circumstances surrounding it.

AFP

Judge Refuses To Dismiss Sex Assault Charges Against Weinstein

Harvey Weinstein (C) arrives at Manhattan Criminal Court for a hearing on October 11, 2018 in New York City. TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP

 

A US judge ruled on Thursday that the sexual assault case against Harvey Weinstein can go ahead, rejecting a defense motion to dismiss the charges facing the disgraced Hollywood mogul who has become the face of the #MeToo movement.

Judge James Burke set the next pre-trial hearing in the criminal case against the 66-year-old Weinstein for March 7.

“We are obviously disappointed that the charges were not dismissed today,” Weinstein’s attorney Ben Brafman told reporters after a brief hearing in Manhattan Criminal Court.

Brafman, who had argued that the case should be thrown out because of alleged misconduct by police and prosecutors, said he remained confident that Weinstein will be “completely exonerated” at trial.

“This is not about the MeToo movement,” added Brafman, one of America’s most celebrated defense attorneys. “It’s a specific criminal case.”

Weinstein, who appeared in court wearing a dark suit and blue tie and did not speak to reporters, is facing five counts over an alleged rape in March 2013 and a forced act of oral sex in 2006.

The producer of “Pulp Fiction,” “Shakespeare in Love” and other hit movies insists that all of his sexual liaisons were consensual and is free on $1 million bail after his arrest in May.

Weinstein, a twice-married father of five, could face life in prison if convicted.

He has been accused by more than 80 women of sexual misconduct but is only facing charges in connection with accusations by two women.

 Time’s Up 

Burke dismissed one charge against Weinstein earlier this year but he flatly rejected the defense motion on Thursday to toss out the other five counts.

“The court finds that there is no basis for the defendant’s claim of prosecutorial or law enforcement misconduct in the proceedings,” the judge wrote.

“The motion to dismiss on these grounds is denied.”

The torrent of accusations that first surfaced against Weinstein in October last year upended the career of one of Hollywood’s most powerful producers and sparked a major reckoning about harassment in the workplace and the global #MeToo movement.

Around 20 women from the “Time’s Up” movement against sexual harassment attended the 20-minute hearing in the packed Manhattan courtroom.

“I am here to stand with my sisters and with the survivors,” said actress Kathy Najimy, who appeared in the comedy “Sister Act.”

Time’s Up said in a statement it was “relieved that Harvey Weinstein failed in his efforts to avoid accountability for his crimes.

“We look forward to seeing justice served and seeing Harvey Weinstein prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” the group said.

While he failed on Thursday to get all charges dismissed, Brafman did manage to get one count was thrown out in October — an accusation by former actress Lucia Evans that Weinstein forced her to engage in an act of oral sex in 2004.

Prosecutors opted not to pursue the charge after it emerged that one detective who worked on the investigation had failed to disclose witness testimony that contradicted Evans’s account.

A friend of Evans said she had heard her say that she had willingly engaged in oral sex with Weinstein to secure a movie role.

Brafman alleged that the detective in question, Nicholas DiGaudio, made other mistakes.

Bennett Gershman, who teaches law at Pace University, said he believes prosecutors have a solid case with the two remaining accusers, no matter what they may have said to Weinstein after the alleged assaults.

“These women saying nice things to Weinstein — would that surprise anybody? You have a hugely powerful man… who literally controlled their reputation and their careers,” Gershman said.

“Did they consent or did they consent involuntarily?” he asked. “If these women testify strongly on the witness stand, Weinstein will lose.”

AFP

Alleged Fraud: Judge Withdraws Over Defendant’s Plea For Favour

Alleged Fraud: Judge Withdraws Over Defendant’s Plea For Favour

 

An Abuja High Court judge, Justice Danlami Senchi, has withdrawn from the trial of Victoria Adelana, a civil engineer who is standing trial for a N5 million fraud.

According to a statement from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Friday, Justice Senchi accused the defendant of embarrassing him with several calls, “asking for help” in the matter.

Adelana, who is accused of defrauding one Chinenye Ike in a land scam, was arraigned in May 2016 and pleaded “not guilty” to the charge.

She was said to have jumped bail and had to be declared wanted before she was arrested by EFCC operatives on February 10 and brought to court to face trial.

Justice Senchi had revoked the bail earlier granted the defendant and ordered that she be remanded in Suleja Prison.

The trial continued on February 20 with prosecuting counsel Diane Nkwap calling her first witness, Frank Kamalu, who explained how the defendant collected the money to buy a plot of land at Maitama EXTENSION II in Abuja, which turned out to be a land scam.

At the resumed sitting, Justice Senchi who was to give a ruling on bail and a “no-case” submission by the defence informed both prosecution and defence in open court that he felt embarrassed by the recent development, in which the defendant had literally been harassing him with several calls.

In view of the development, the trial judge excused himself from the case and ordered that the case file be returned to the Chief Judge of the FCT for reassignment.

Adelana was also ordered to be remanded in prison custody pending the reassignment of the case.