Y. G. Oshoala, a Lagos State prosecution counsel, on Thursday, June 27, 2019, brought an application seeking to add Mr. Femi Falana, SAN, as a witness in the trial of suspected billionaire kidnap kingpin, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike, alias Evans.
Oshala told Justice Adedayo Akintoye of a Lagos High Court sitting in Igbosere that an issue came up during trial-within-trial, which required that “we call an additional witness.”
Evans had, on January 16, told the court that his confessional statement to the Police in 2017 was made under duress.
The court, therefore, conducted a trial-within-trial to ascertain whether the defendant’s statement was actually made under duress. Evans is currently facing two separate charges bordering on conspiracy to kidnap, kidnapping and attempted murder.
In the first charge, Evans is standing trial alongside Joseph Emeka, Ugochukwu Nwachukwu and Victor Aduba. In the second charge, he is standing trial alongside Joseph Emeka, Linus Okpara and Victor Aduba.
At the resumed hearing on Thursday, Oshoala told the court that during trial-within-trial Evans mentioned that Falana came to visit him while in police custody, but was prevented from seeing him due to the excessive torture he was going through.
The prosecutor, however, said he would want to call the SAN as a witness in the interest of justice. However, counsel to Evans, Mr. R. B. Ekeh, said he has not responded to the application, adding that other defendants’ counsel said they were not served with the application.
Oshala said: “The issue came up during trial-within-trial of the first defendant (Evans) and therefore does not concern the other defendants.” Justice Adedayo Akintoye ordered that all the defendants be served and “those concerned will reply.”
After the submissions, the third defendant’s counsel, Mr. S. E. Okeke, holding the brief for Mr J. C. Jiakponna, told the court that he had a bail application. He informed the court that he has served the Medical Director of Kirikiri Maximum Security Prison the order made by the court on May 23, in which the Director was ordered to issue a medical report on the state of health of the third defendant (Linus Opara).
The counsel had claimed that Opara had a bungled surgery in prison, which might require treatment at an outside hospital. Okeke, however, said that the prisons “have not reacted to it. We will move our bail application after the prisons have reacted to the court’s order.”
All the proceedings above took place when the second charge was called, in which Evans is standing trial alongside Joseph Emeka, Linus Okpara and Victor Aduba. Earlier, the first defendants’ counsel adopted his written address in the first charge.
He told the court that it was the former counsel to Evans, Mr. O. I. Ajanuku, that prepared the address, adding that he would adopt same as his argument to the trial-within-trial in this particular charge. The Lagos State prosecuting counsel said he had filed a reply and would adopt it as his argument.
Justice Akintoye then adjourned the case till September 18 for ruling on the first charge and hearing of bail application on the second charge.