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Evans Is Playing Games, Lawyer Tells Court.

A lawyer, A. A Uzokwu on Thursday accused alleged kidnap kingpin, Chikwudumeme Onwiamadike, alias Evans of playing games, in a bid to stall his trial which has suffered several adjournments due to the absence of his counsel.

Uzokwu is the counsel to Okwuchukwu Nwachukwu who is the fifth defendant. Lagos State Prosecutor, Y. G Oshoala also accused the kidnap Kingpin of playing games which they do not understand.

Evans who is standing trial before an Ikeja High Court alongside five other co-defendants yet again appeared in court without his counsel.

Evans co-defendants are: Uche Amadi, Ogechi Uchechukwu, Chilaka Ifeanyi and Victor Aduba.

At Thursday's proceedings, Uzokwu said: 'the first defendant is playing games. This same scenario played out before your learned brother Akinlade J on Wednesday. The 1st defendant also appeared in court without any legal representation. That was the third adjournment granted in the instance of the 1st defendant

'I don't know why they don't have any legal representation.

'They are playing games and My Lord has to assist us. We urge the court to invoke sections 233 on the defendants which allow the court to appoint counsels for the defendants in this circumstance so that they would stop playing this kind of games. If they also wish, they also have the option of representing themselves.

'My Lord at this stage, we are like stuck behind a stationary vehicle,' Uzokwu said.

Uzokwu, however, suggested to the court about the option of severing the charges between his client and the other accused persons.

'My Lord we are ready to proceed with the trial, ' Uzokwu said.

The Prosecutor, Oshoala also informed the court their willingness to proceed. 'My Lord, we are ready to proceed, as we have our witness in court. '

However, when the court pointedly asked Evans where his counsel was, the alleged kidnap kingpin said, 'I don't know. There is no communication between us.'

Other defendants, Uche Amadi, Ogechi Uchechukwu, Chilaka Ifeanyi who had also appeared in court without any legal representation also said that there was no communication between them and their lawyers.

Responding to the accusations against Evans, the Judge, Justice Hakeem Oshodi threatened to invoke Sections 233 against the defendants. 'It is not that easy to severe charges. Once you severe charges, you have to amend the charges and pleas would have to be taken all over again.

'I feel your pain. The truth is, if you are stuck behind a stationary vehicle, you can alight and ask the driver what the problem is, then you take it from there,' the Judge said.

'I know that there is a section of the constitution that mandates the counsel that started a matter to conclude it, but I am not ready to invoke that section.

In a short ruling, Justice Oshodi said, 'if the defendants are not represented at the next adjourned date, the court would have to appoint counsels for them, or they would have to represent themselves.

'The Prosecution is to notify the Office of the Public Defender at the next adjourned date, should the defendants decide to play another game.'

The matter was thereafter adjourned till May 14 for the continuation of trial.

Evans and his co-defendants are facing a myriad of kidnapping, murder and conspiracy charges in two other courts; the Lagos State High Court Igbosere and the Special Offences Court in Ikeja.

So far, he has appeared consecutively before the court without any legal representation forcing his trial to be stalled.

In the matter before Justice Oshodi, Evans was accused of kidnapping Dfonatus Dunu the Chairman of Maydon Pharmaceuticals.

Evans reportedly collected 223,000 Euros as a ransom for Dunu's release.
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Publication:Nigerian Tribune (Oyo State, Nigeria)
Date:Apr 11, 2019
Words:706
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