Published On: Wed, Aug 30th, 2017

Evans Lawyer Accuses Police Of Forcing Client To Accept Guilt, Vows To Charge Plea

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By Sadiq Umar – Lawyer to the billionaire kidnapper, Barrister Olukoya Ogungbeje has vowed to reverse the guilty plea by his client, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike, accusing the police of forcing his client to accept guilt.

Onwuamadike popularly known as Evans had pleaded guilty to a two-count charge of kidnapping and conspiracy brought against him and five others by the Lagos State government before Justice Hakeem Oshodi of the Ikeja High Court.

In count one, the defendants were accused of conspiring to commit felony to wit, kidnapping, contrary to Section 411 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, CAP C17, 2015.

The offence was said to have been carried out at about 7:45pm on February 14, 2017 along Obokun Street in Ilupeju.

In count two, the defendants were said to have “between 14th February and 12th April, 2017, along Obokun Street, Ilupeju, Lagos, in the Ikeja Judicial Division, while armed with guns and other weapons, did capture, detain and collect a ransom of 223, 000 Euros from one Dunu Donatus (m) for his release.”

Evans, who was arrested at his mansion in Magodo area of the State after being on wanted list of the police for long, was arraigned on a two-count charge before Justice Hakeem Oshodi alongside five other members of his gang.

Other defendants are Uche Amadi (m), Ogechi Uchechukwu (f), Okwuchukwu Nwachukwu (m), Chilaka Ifeanyi (m) and Victor Chukwunonso Aduba (m).

Justice Oshodi, had therefore ordered that they be remanded in Kirikiri prison and adjourned the matter till October 19.

But Ogunbeje in a statement shortly after said the plea would be changed to not guilty at the next court sitting.

“The information/charge sheet was served on us in open court hence, the need to confer with our client to enable us avail ourselves with the constitutional right of adequate time and facility to put up our defence.

“The court, after turning down our plea for adjournment, immediately ordered that the counts charges be read to him and others despite our plea for the adjournment to enable us confer with our client in accordance with the law.

“After the purported guilty plea of our client and the court rose, we stressed to have brief discussion time with our client and he told us clearly that the police told him to plead guilty failure to which they would kill him,” Ogungbeje alleged.

He said: “This is definitely unconstitutional and we intend to challenge this unconstitutional procedure for hoodwinking, undue influence, brainwashing and coercion on an accused into entering a guilty plea against his wish and free will.

“He pointedly told us that being informed us that being informed now, he will change his police-motivated guilty plea to not guilty at the next adjourned date.

“It is settled law that plea of guilty must be made voluntary and direct devoid of any influence, coercion and manipulation.

“In the meantime, after our brief conferring with our client in open court, he made it known to us that he will change his police motivated guilty plea to ‘not guilty’ at the next adjourned date.”

Speaking to journalists on Wednesday after the proceeding, the State’s Attorney General said the adjournment was trial of the four defendants who pleaded not guilty, while the procedure for the two that pleaded guilty would be the laying of the statesmen of fact before them again.

He said: “If they affirm the statement of fact again, then the judge will adjourn for the sentencing of the duo who pleaded guilty while the court go on with the trial of those who pleaded not guilty.”

He assured that the present administration in the State under the leadership of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode would leave no stone unturned in ensuring safety of lives and property in the State.

 

 

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