Again, lawyer’s absence stalls Evans’ trial
NEWS DIGEST–For the second time in 30 days, the trial of suspected billionaire kidnap kingpin, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike alias Evans, failed to go on at a Lagos High Court in Igbosere on Friday, following the absence of a defence counsel.
Evans’ lawyer, Chino Obiagwu SAN, did not make an appearance but sent a letter informing Justice Adedayo Akintoye of his absence.
No member of Evans’ legal team, including Olanrewaju Ajanaku, was present.
Consequently, the judge adjourned till March 22 at 10am for address by counsel for trial within trial.
The adjournment, the second consecutively, followed that of January 31, foisted on the court by the non-appearance of another defence counsel, Emmanuel Ochai, following which the judge adjourned till yesterday.
At the commencement of proceedings yesterday, prosecution counsel, Y. G. Oshoala drew the court’s attention to the absence of Evans’ counsel and Ochai’s January 31st abstention.
“This is not the first time such is happening. The Supreme Court stated that the court is not a slave of time that must wait for a party to come and present his case. We submit that the court cannot wait for them,” Oshoala said.
He directed the court’s mind to the need to do justice to all parties,” the state, the defendant, the public.”
But making an order for adjournment, Justice Akintoye said: “I’ve noted your observation. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt because the defence counsel is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN). I assume he is not just wasting the time of the court.”
The judge made the same order in a sister case involving Evans.
Evans is facing two separate charges, bordering on conspiracy to kidnap, kidnapping and attempted murder, before Justice Akintoye.
In the first charge, he is standing trial alongside Joseph Emeka, Ugochukwu Nwachukwu and Victor Aduba.
The four were arraigned last June 26 following the dismissal of Evans’ objection to a five-count charge of conspiracy, kidnapping and attempted murder, preferred against them by the Lagos State Government.
The defendants and others at large allegedly committed the offences on September 7, 2015, at Seventh Avenue, Festac Town, Lagos.
The allegedly conspired and kidnapped Chief James Uduji, obtained a ransom of $1.2million and shot him on the shoulder while trying to kill him.
In the second charge, he is joined on trial with Joseph Emeka, Linus Okpara and Victor Aduba.