Bogged by the incessant excuses of defence counsel, the Lagos High Court has warned it would no longer tolerate requests for adjournments in the celebrated case of kidnap suspect, Chukwudumem Onwuamadike, popularly known as Evans.
The trial of the suspected kidnap kingpin resumed on Tuesday at the Lagos State High Court with a new counsel representing the accuse person.
Mr. Chino Obiagwu, the new counsel requested for a short adjournment to enable him study the case file, but Justice Hakeem Oshodi refused the request.
He turned down the request because he would no longer accept further delays.
The fifth and sixth defendants counsel, Mr Agwulanna Uzoukwu and Mr Emmanuel Ochai, opposed Mr Obiagwu’s prayer, pointing out that the several adjournments were affecting the liberty of their clients.
On his part, the state counsel, Mr Haaron Adebayo, also opposed the adjournment request, saying the state was ready for trial.
The trial had been put on hold, with the last hearing on June 26 because of changes in defence counsels.
After the various parties had made their cases at the hearing on Tuesday it was then adjourned till October 26 for further hearing.
Evans in August 2017 pleaded guilty to conspiracy and kidnapping before a judge of the Ikeja High Court.
Evans and five others were arraigned on a two-count charge of conspiracy and kidnapping.
The judge ordered that all the male defendants be remanded at Kirikiri Maximum Prison while the female defendant, who pleaded not guilty to all the charges, be kept at the Kirikiri Female Prison.
The case continued to drag apparently deliberate to stall proceedings by defence who continuously sought adjournments and in some cases withdrawal of defence counsel.
A trial judge had also hands off the case
Justice Abdulazeez Anka of the Federal High Court, Lagos declined to hear a fundamental rights suit filed by suspected kidnapper, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike, alias Evans.
Evans is seeking N300 million damages for his illegal detention.
Anka returned the case file to the Administrative Judge for further directive.
The judge had earlier heard the case during the court’s long vacation and had adjourned until Aug. 29 for judgment after parties argued it and adopted their addresses on Aug.16.
But the police through its counsel Mr David Igbodo said another lawyer, Mr Henry Obiazi, who represented the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) and the Nigeria Police when the case was heard did so without authorisation.
The police prayed the court to set aside all the purported arguments made by Obiazi and to set aside the ruling it delivered on Aug. 16 in which he adjourned for judgment.
When the case came up before another judge, Justice Chuka Obiozor during the long vacation, he held that the case was no longer urgent.
Obizor, then returned the file to the Chief Judge, Justice Adamu Kafarati for re-assignment to another judge.
The case was subsequently re-assigned to Justice Babs Kuewemi.
However, Evans’ lawyer, Olukoya Ogungbeje wrote the chief judge informing him that Anka had already adjourned the case for judgment.
Based on the letter, the case was again returned to Anka.