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Again, Court Dismisses Evans’ Application to Stop Trial

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LAGOS, NIGERIA (AFRICAN EXAMINER) – Justice Adedayo Akintoye of an Igbosere High Court in Lagos has again discharged the application seeking to quash the charges preferred against the suspected kidnap kingpin, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike a.k.a Evans, by the Lagos State Government.

Justice Akintoye while ruling on the application said the charges filed against Evans did not offend the rule of duplicity as enshrined in the country’s laws and, therefore, lacked merit.

Evans is standing trial on a fresh five-count charge bordering on conspiracy to kidnap, kidnapping and attempted murder, but had on May 25, 2018 prayed the court to quash all the charges filed against him.

In a motion on notice, the defendant argued that ‎all the charges were “grossly defective, repetitive and an abuse of court processes.”

Evans is charged alongside three other suspects including: Joseph Emeka, Ugochukwu Nwachukwu and Victor Aduba.

In the second charge, Evans is being tried alongside Joseph Emeka, Linus Okpara and Victor Aduba.

At the resumed hearing Tuesday, Justice Akintoye held that the processes filed by both counsel to the case identified three major issues for determination.

He held for a prima facie case to be established, the proof of evidence must sufficiently link the defendants to the offence.

“Looking closely at the proof of evidence, a prima facie case has been established.

“The statement of one of the victims stated that Evans shot him with a gun, cleaned the wound by himself and asked the third defendant to look after him (victim)’’ the judge ruled.

Justice Akintoye also held that the charge was not an abuse of court process, adding that every distinct offence should be charged separately.

However, she held that the information did not offend the rule of duplicity as enshrined in Sections 152 and 153 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law of Lagos State.

She contended that the charges were not defective; rather, disclosed different offences with different facts, different victims and different places.

On whether the court has jurisdiction or not, the judge held the argument was that the court had the power to quash charges, adding that that the application to quash charge was premature.

“The defendant must wait until the close of prosecution’s case before filing to quash charge, the application to quash charge and to discharge the defendants is hereby refused and dismissed.

“The application lacked merit, I so hold,” Akintoye ruled.

After the ruling, the prosecutor, the State Director for Public Prosecutions (DPP), Ms. Titilayo Shitta-Bey, said,“ in view of the ruling, we ask that the defendants be arraigned.’’

The defendants were, however, arraigned as stated in the second charge where Evans is being tried alongside Joseph Emeka, Linus Okpara and Victor Aduba.

The five-count charge was read to accused and alleged that the defendants committed the alleged offences on September. 7, 2015 at 7th Avenue, Festac Town, Lagos.

The defendants allegedly conspired among themselves to kidnap Chief James Uduji, collected a ransom of $1.2 million and attempted to murder him.

The prosecution also said the defendants while armed with firearms attempted to kill Mr. Donatus Nwoye by shooting him. They equally allegedly attempted to kill Mr. Jereome Okezie by shooting him.

The offences according to the Prosecutor contravened Sections 230 (a) and 411 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015. (Revised)

They suspects pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Earlier, the Justice Akintoye had acknowledged that the former counsel to Evans, Mr. Olukoya Ogungbeje, wrote a letter to the court informing it about his resolve to withdraw from the case.

In his place, Mr. Noel Brown, announced his appearance as Evans’ new counsel.

Justice Akintoye adjourned the case till September 13, 2018 for trial./NAN


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