Badeh’s trial postponed till March 16
The trial of the former Chief of Defence Staff, Alex Badeh, has been postponed till March 16 after the prosecution added a new evidence against the former CDS.
Badeh is facing a 10-count charge of criminal breach of trust and diversion of N3.9 billion meant for arms procurement.
Mr Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), Counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the prosecutor, had filed additional proof to beef up evidence against Badeh.
Consequently, Badeh’s new lead counsel, Akin Olujimmi (SAN) filed for the postponement of the trial in order to study the case file and the new evidence submitted by the prosecution.
Though prosecuting counsel opposed the application, leaving the Judge, Justice Okon Abang with no option than to rule on it.
Jacobs argued that the trial cannot be stalled on account of Olujimi being new to the case. He explained that it was Badeh’s responsibility to have briefed the counsel about the case before his appearance in court.
Jacobs also contended that the former defence chief’s first lawyer, Samuel Zibiri was adequately briefed by Badeh, hence, no excuse to postpone the commencement of the trial.
Reminding the Court of its earlier resolve to expedite trial through day-to-day hearing of the case, Jacobs maintained that the Defendant should not introduce a new Counsel with a view to stalling the process.
“The Defendant cannot bring another Senior Advocate with a view to scuttling the trial. I therefore, urge the Court to refuse the application for adjournment”, Jacobs stated.
“The Defendant cannot bring another Senior Advocate with a view to scuttling the trial. I therefore urge the Court to refuse the application for adjournment”, Jacobs stated.
Delivering the ruling, Abang held that the right of defence was a personal right of the applicant that could not be denied.
He said the applicant had the option of defending himself personally or to enlist a private counsel to act on his behalf.
“The applicant has since March 7 when he was arraigned been represented by a counsel, so he cannot in the attempt to hire another counsel to halt the trial.
“Today is reserved for the commencement of trial and the court will not allow any flimsy motion to stop that.
“However, on the issue of late service of the addition proof of evidence filed by the prosecution, the applicant may have a point there and so the application has succeeded in parts,’’ Abang.
The judge then held that “in the circumstance, the application succeeds in parts to enable counsel to the applicant study the new proof of evidence before the commencement of trial.’’
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