Court says no proof Evans was tortured
A Lagos High Court, Ikeja yesterday ruled there is no proof that the alleged kidnap kingpin Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike a.k.a (Evans) was tortured by members of the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Intelligence Response Team and the Police Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
The trial judge, Justice Hakeem Oshodi while delivering ruling on the admissibility of Evans’ confessional statement of dated June 11, 12017 held that the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria made no requirement that statements to the police must be in a specific form.
Evans is standing trial alongside Uche Amadi, Ogechi Uchechukwu, Chilaka Ifeanyi, Okwuchukwu Nwachukwu and Victor Aduba.
They were arraigned on two count charges of conspiracy and kidnap of the Chief Executive Officer of Maydon Pharmaceutical Limited, Donatus Dunu, from whose family allegedly they collected 223,000 Euro (N100m) as ransom.
Evans and his co-defendants have pleaded not guilty to all the charges.
Evans had claimed that his confessional statement to the police was not obtained voluntarily, alleged that police officers tortured him and made him witness executions in a bid to get him to admit to his crimes. This was led to trial within trial to ascertain whether he was tortured or not
The judge further held that contrary to Evans claimed that he was tortured, the videotaped confession played in the court last year October 26, 2018 shows no proof that Evans was tortured to provide details of his alleged misdeeds.
“In the video that was played in open court, the first defendant was cautioned and he signed a word of caution, when he was asked his profession he said he was a businessman, he said so with a smile.
“In the video the first defendant asked the investigating police officer to write his statement on his behalf, the first defendant sat on a sofa and after the recording of the statement, the first defendant signed. The court cannot see any coercion directed at the first defendant. When the witness for the prosecution was cross-examined he categorically states that the first defendant was not tortured when his statement was taken.”
The judge held that Evans did not provide any evidence to court to back the allegations of extra- judicial killings he made against the police.
“The first defendant has not provided evidence of any inducement, threat or promised in the trial-within-trial. The court is not unmindful that the first defendant said he was slapped; cigarettes extinguished on his hands and saw people being murdered by the police.
“The allegation that the police murdered some people is a criminal allegation that he did not prove, there is no blood seen in the video. The first defendant did not give any evidence as to the treatment of the injuries he sustained.”
“The first defendant did not contradict any part of the video played. There is no proof that the statement was made involuntarily. The statement is hereby admitted and marked Exhibit B.”
The Lagos State Director of Public Prosecution (DPP, Ms. Titilayo Shitta-Bey however prayed the court for an adjournment due to the absence of prosecution witness, Inspector Idowu Haruna in court.
She said, “It is unfortunate that the prosecution witness is not in court, we pray the for an adjournment. The witness sustained injury in an accident and he is still recovering from the injury.”
Defendant counsel, Mr. Olanrewaju Ajanaku (Evans counsel) did not oppose to the request for an adjournment and the judge subsequently further trial to February 22,2019.
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