Home News Lawyers’ disagreement stalls trial of Oniba kidnap suspects

Lawyers’ disagreement stalls trial of Oniba kidnap suspects

Image result for Lawyers’ disagreement stalls trial of Oniba kidnap suspectsTVC N. A Lagos High Court in Igbosere could not continue on Friday, the trial of four suspects in the kidnap saga of the traditional ruler of Iba Town, Oba Goriola Oseni, due to disagreement between two counsels over who would represent fourth defendant, Yerin Fresh.

Fresh is standing trial alongside three others on an eight-count charge bordering on conspiracy, murder, attempted murder, armed robbery, felony and kidnapping preferred against them by the Lagos State Government.

He was first arraigned on October 24, before Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo of the Lagos State High Court, Igbosere, alongside first defendant Duba Furejo, second defendant Ododowo Isaiah and third defendant Reuben Anthony. They and others at large were accused of conspiring to commit the alleged offences on July 16, at the traditional ruler’s palace in Iba and were ordered to be remanded at Ikoyi Prison following their plea of not guilty.

On October 24, Chief Selowei Baidi, who is also the counsel to the first and second defendants, represented Fresh. At the commencement of proceedings yesterday, Mrs. E. I. Alakija, the Lagos State Director of Public Prosecution (DDP), announced her appearance for the state, while Baidi and Egwuaroje maintained appearances for the same defendants. But mild drama began when another Counselor, Mr. Anthony Onwueze, also announced appearance for the fourth defendant, Fresh. Responding to a query from Justice Taiwo, Onwueze explained that he had been commissioned to represent the fourth defendant.But Baidi confronted Onwueze with the Rules of Professional Ethics of the profession and insisted that Onwueze had not fulfilled the conditions precedent for take over of a brief from another lawyer. Following this argument, prosecution counsel, Alakija observed that a dispute over proper representation in the case could be resolved in accordance with Section 234 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law (ACJL), 2011, which provides for change of counsel. She offered that the prosecution was willing to give counsel time to settle the matter.

Third defendant counsel, Egwuaroje also observed that the prosecution witnesses appeared to be absent.In a bench ruling, Justice Taiwo said: “Both counsel are hereby advised to abide by the professional rules. Mr Onwueze should assist Chief Baidi to recover whatever fees are due to him from the fourth defendant. She continued: “In view of the circumstances, I would suggest that we commence trial on another date, by which counsel would have put their house in order. Justice Taiwo thereafter, adjourned the case to case till November 11.

Apart from the kidnap of Oba Oseni, they allegedly murdered ‎a security guard, Sunday Eniola Okanlawon and a commercial motorcyclist, Joseph Okeke and also attempted to murder the monarch’s wife, Olori Abosede Oseni. According to the charge, they also robbed Abosede of her mobile phone while armed with guns.



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