Charges Against Me Are Repetitive, Evans Says, Wants Them Quashed
Suspected kidnap kingpin, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike a.k.a Evans, on Friday asked a Lagos High Court sitting in Igbosere to quash all the charges filed against him by the Lagos State Government.
Evans said similar charges were pending before a Lagos High Court (Ikeja Division) and therefore should be tried by one judge.
The LASG had brought a fresh set of five counts bordering on conspiracy to kidnap, kidnapping and attempted murder against Evans and three others, the News Agency of Nigeria reports.
Evans is charged alongside 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 of the case on Friday, counsel to the first defendant, Mr. Olukoya Ogungbeje, informed the court that he had filed a motion on notice to quash all the charges filed against the first defendant (Evans).
In the motion on notice, Ogungbeje said that all the charges were “grossly defective, repetitive and an abuse of court processes.”
According to him, the prosecution had earlier filed similar charges and amended charges bordering on kidnapping against Evans pending before the same High Court of Lagos State.
He relied on Section 153 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law of Lagos State, adding that nothing stopped the prosecution from bringing the charges under one judge.
He said counts three, four and five were repetitions of same offence.
“Apart from the counts being of same offence, same section of the law is being provided in these counts.
“I submit that the prosecution misfired by bringing different charges and instituting the same case in different courts.
“I urge Your Lordship to quash the charge because it is defective and an abuse of court process,” Ogungbeje argued.
In her response to the motion, the State Director for Public Prosecutions, Ms Titilayo Shitta-Bey, said: “The general rule is that every offence must be in a separate count.”
Shitta-Bey said that Evans was charged with attempt to murder Mr. James Uduji in count three; while in count four, he was charged with attempt to murder Mr. Donald Nwonye.
“It will be against the provisions of the law to lump the two offences in one count,” she said.
She explained that other charges filed against the first defendant before other judges involved different defendants, different offences and different victims. She, therefore, urged the court to dismiss the application.
Meanwhile, the third defendant, Linus Okpara, in the second charge, has urged the court in a motion on notice to quash the two counts preferred against him.
He made the application through his counsel, Mr. Jude Igbanoi, adding that the proof of evidence did not disclose any prima facie case against him.
“I will align myself with the arguments made by the first defendant. I urge this honourable court to quash the charge; there is nothing in the proof of evidence linking the third defendant to the charge,” Igbanoi said.
The prosecutor, in responding to the third defendant’s motion, told the court that the proof of evidence disclosed a prima facie case against him.
She said that the proof of evidence disclosed where the third defendant admitted collecting the sum of N2m for the first defendant in relation to one of the victims, Uche Okorafor.
“I, therefore, urge the court to discountenance the third defendant’s argument,” DPP said.
Justice Adedayo Akintoye, after listening to all the arguments, adjourned the case until June 26 for ruling.
NAN also reports that the alleged kidnap kingpin was arrested on June 10, 2017 and was, in August 2017, arraigned before Justice Hakeem Oshodi at an Ikeja High Court for kidnapping.
He was also arraigned before Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo of Ikeja High Court, Lagos.