Prosecutor’s delay to serve defendants’ counsel stalls trial of kidnap kingpin, Evans, others
The trial of suspected kidnap kingpin, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike, popularly known as Evans, on two separate charges in a Lagos High Court, Igbosere, could not continue yesterday, fbecauseof the inability of the prosecutor to complete service on the defendants’ counsel.
Also, counsel to the third defendant, Emmanuel Ochai, was absent, while the fourth defendant Okpara Linus had no legal representation.
Evans and other defendants are facing a five-count charge bordering on conspiracy to kidnapping, kidnapping and attempted murder, preferred against them by the Lagos State government.
Counsel to the first and second defendants, Olukoya Ogungbeje and O. Ogu, informed the court that they had not been served with the information. Ogungbeje also said he was only served with one of the information contained in the charge.
But the Lagos State prosecutor and Director of Public Prosecution DPP, Ms. Titilayo Shitta-Bey, told the court that she had filed a fresh and an amended information, and had served the information to the first defendant’s counsel, but that she was yet to serve the other defendants’ counsel.
She said: “The amended charge is the fourth defendant that was added in this fresh charge is Okpara Linus. We only want to bring the information before the court so that he can be remanded in prison in view of the fact that we have not served the other counsel.”
On the second charge, Evans was charged alongside Joseph Ikenna Emeka, Ugochukwu Nwachukwu and Victor Aduba.
They are being charged on two-count charges bordering on conspiracy to kidnapping contrary to section 411, Cap C17, Vol 3 of the criminal law of Lagos State 2015 and kidnapping contrary to section 271 (3), of the criminal law of Lagos State 2015.
However, first defendant’s counsel, who is also representing the third defendant, Nwachukwu, told the court that the information that was served on him by the prosecutor didn’t have the name of the third defendant.
Also in her response, Shitta-Bey said the information had been served on the defendants themselves before their counsel came into the matter.
“We are going to give him every available information. We would serve everybody” the prosecutor stated.
Justice Adedayo Akintoye, ordered the prosecution to serve the defence counsel with all the necessary information before the next adjourned date. She also ordered the third defendant Victor Abuba, in the first charge to make sure that his counsel appears in court on the next adjourned date. Justice Akintoye also asked the fourth defendant Okpara Linus to come with his counsel, “otherwise the court will provide him with a lawyer”.
She, thereafter, adjourned the two cases to November 24, for arraignment. And ordered that all the defendants in the two separate charges be remanded in prison custody.
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