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Lagos government invites Falana to testify against Evans in kidnapping case

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Evans.

The Lagos State government yesterday filed an application seeking to add to the list of witnesses a human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN) to testify in the trial of the suspected billionaire kidnap kingpin, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike, alias Evans at an Igbosere High Court, Lagos.

Prosecution counsel, Mr. Y.G. Oshoala, told Justice Adedayo Akintoye that Evans made a claim concerning Falana while testifying in a trial within trial, which required clarification by the lawyer-activist.

A trial-within-trial is a mini trial conducted to find out, among others, if a defendant in a criminal matter made his confessional statement voluntarily or otherwise.

Oshoala’s application followed the resumption of proceedings in the fourth and fifth in a series of kidnap, murder and attempted murder charges brought against Evans by the state government. But only two charges are before Justice Akintoye. Three others are before Justices Hakeem Oshodi and Oluwatoyin Taiwo of the Ikeja High Court.

In the first charge before Justice Taiwo, Evans and three others – Joseph Emeka, Ugochukwu Nwachukwu and Victor Aduba – pleaded not guilty to a five-count charge of conspiracy to kidnap, kidnapping and attempted murder. In the second charge, Evans is being tried alongside Joseph Emeka, Linus Okpara and Victor Aduba.

Oshoala made the application during trial on the second charge. He told Justice Akintoye that during the trial within trial on January 16, Evans claimed that after his arrest in 2017, the police obtained a confessional statement from him under duress.

He said Evans alleged that Falana visited the police station where he was being tortured, but a Chief Superintendent (CSP) hid him in a toilet until the lawyer left. The prosecutor noted that he needed to call the SAN as a witness “in the interest of justice.”

But Evans’ counsel, Mr. R.B. Ekeh, said he had yet to respond to the application, adding that other defendants’ counsel said they were not served with the application.

Countering him, Oshoala explained that “the issue came up during trial within trial of the first defendant (Evans), it therefore does not concern the other defendants”.

But Justice Akintoye upheld Ekeh’s argument and ordered that all the defendants be served, “those concerned will reply”. The judge then adjourned further proceedings till September 18.


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