Ekweremadu: Jurors keep everyone waiting
Jurors at the nearly completed Old Bailey “conspiracy to facilitate and arrange travel with the aim of exploitation trial” of former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, Beatrice, his wife, Sonia, their daughter and Dr Obinna Obeta, sent another note to the judge on Wednesday, seeking clarification.
Their question was “could all defendants have to agree that there is a reward” for David Nwamini’s donation of his kidney. The note came less than an hour after the 12 jurors were sworn in for the third consecutive day of deliberations just after 10:00am -UK time. But before they were summoned back from the jury room to the courtroom for the answer, Justice Johnson read the question to both the prosecution and the defence, asking if they wish to “make any submissions.” All the barristers shook their heads to say “no.”
The judge then read the guidelines to them. None raised objections. The jurors were then asked back to the court. Addressing them, Johnson said: “ask yourself if you’re sure” that a particular defendant “was aware and agreed with at least one person that David Nwamini must be brought to the UK for the purpose of donating his kidney for a reward,” then you must “find that defendant guilty.”
On the contrary, “if you consider that defendant was not aware that David Nwamini was to come to the UK to donate his kidney for reward, you must consider that defendant not guilty.” He emphasised that “you must satisfy yourself” that a defendant was aware and agreed, before going on to give their individual verdicts.
Continuing, he said: “hope that answers your question,” before then saying to them: “I will ask you to now return and continue your deliberations.”
The jurors were out as at 1:00pm, when the court went on an hour’s lunch break. They’ll return to jury room at 2:00pm, and if they reach a verdict before court closes at 4:30 pm, the waiting will be over.
Watching everything from the dock with his wife, daughter and Obeta, the Senator looked relaxed. Jury was discharged around 4:23pm (UK time) with the judge saying: “ I‘ll give you further directions tomorrow.”