The trial of alleged kidnap kingpin, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike, alias Evans, yesterday stalled before the Lagos State High Court sitting in Ikeja due to the absence of the counsel defending the second and third defendants, Uche Amadi and Ogechi Uchechukwu.
The trial judge, Justice Hakeem Oshodi, expressed disgust at the repeated absence of the counsel. The judge said, “The court notes with disgust the attitude of the counsel for the second and third defendants. His absence today has stalled progress in this case.
“The second and third defendants should note that if their counsel is not present during the next adjourned date, the Office of the Public Defender (OPD) will have to take up their case.”
The judge said he might have to order the Lagos State Office of the Public Defender to provide the defendants with counsel.
Evans is standing trial alongside Uche Amadi, Ogechi Uchechukwu, Chilaka Ifeanyi, Okwuchukwu Nwachukwu and Victor Aduba.
They were arraigned in August 2017 in connection with the kidnap of the Chief Executive Officer of Maydon Pharmaceutical Limited, Donatus Dunu. The prosecution alleged that the defendants collected €223,000 in ransom from Dunu’s family to secure the release of the businessman.
The three-year-old trial was scheduled for the adoption of the defendants’ no-case submission but could, however, not go on as counsel defending Uche Amadi and Ogechi Uchechukwu did not show up.
The Lagos State Attorney General, Mr Moyosore Onigbanjo (SAN), who led the prosecution team, prayed the court to make an order for the OPD to provide them with counsel.
Justice Oshodi said there was no justification for the absence of the defence counsel as they were served with hearing notice. “The Directorate of Public Prosecutions should notify the OPD of the next adjourned date,” he said. “This case is adjourned till July 3, 2020, for the adoption of no-case submission.”