Justice Hakeem Oshodi of Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja will today rule on the no-case submissions made by co-defandants of Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike, also known as Evans, in their ongoing kidnap and murder trial.
At the last sitting, Justice Oshodi had ordered an Office of Public Defender counsel, E.E. Okonkwo, who was in court, to take over Evans’ defence since Evans could not hire a lawyer.
Evans’ co-defendants, Ogechi Uchechukwu, Chilaka Ifeanyi, Okwuchukwu Nwachukwu and Victor Aduba, had filed no-case submissions, asking the court to dismiss the charges against them. The second defendant, Uche Amadi, however, did not file a no-case submission.
The defence counsels, Roger Adewole, Olanrewaju Ajanaku, M.C. Izokwu and Emmanuel Ochai, told the court that no prima facie case has been established against the defendants by the prosecutor and urged the court to dismiss the case accordingly.
Responding, the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Lagos State, Moyosore Onigbanjo (SAN), asked the court to dismiss the no-case submissions of the four co-defendants. He said: “The defendants are asking the court to do something that cannot be done.
“They are asking the court to analyse evidence and go beyond the window that no-case submissions requires. All that the court needs to do is to show that there is prima facie evidence. There is before the court legally admittable prima facie evidence enough for the defendants to enter their defence. I urge the court to dismiss all the applications and that the defendants proceed to enter into their defence.”
Evans, who was arraigned alongside five others on August 30, 2017, on two counts of conspiracy and kidnapping, has changed lawyers at least five times during the course of his trial. Some of the lawyers, who represented Evans, include Olukoya Ogungbeje, Noel Brown and Olanrewaju Ajanaku.
Reacting to the absence of his defence counsel, Justice Oshodi noted that Evans had developed a habit of engaging the services of lawyers, who “disappeared halfway through trial” and this has caused delays in the case.
He said: “There are five other defendants with different counsel. The interest of the first defendant (Evans) is not superior to those of the other defendants. The court will not breach Section 36(6) of the 1999 constitution by going ahead with today’s business of the court, which is the hearing of the no-case submissions.”
Justice Oshodi adjourned the case until August 14, today for ruling and possible continuation of trial.