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Evans: Absence of defence counsel stalls his re-arraignment for murder
Crime

Evans: Absence of defence counsel stalls his re-arraignment for murder

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The scheduled arraignment of convicted kidnap kingpin, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike popularly known as Evans, failed to go on Thursday at the Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja, owing to the absence of his counsel.

Trial judge, Justice Adenike Coker subsequently adjourned till June 13 for the planned arraignment.

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Evans and his co-defendant, Joseph Emeka are facing an amended 5-count charge of murder, attempt to kidnap and conspiracy.

They allegedly killed one Peter Nweke on Aug 27, 2013, along Third Avenue, Festac Town, Lagos State.

The duo were also alleged to have killed one Chijioke Ngozi, and attempted to murder and eventually killed the Chairman of the Young Shall Grow Motors, Obianado Vincent.

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When the matter came up before Justice Coker on Thursday, the defendants were called into the dock.

However, when the judge asked why they were not represented by a counsel, both men told the court that they were not aware of the arraignment, and expressed doubts as to whether their lawyers were aware.

A Lagos state government counsel, Yusuf Sule who announced their appearance for the prosecution, however, told the court that the counsel representing Evans, who was the first defendant, was aware, and even though he was based in Abuja, Sule told the court that he communicated with him earlier in the morning.

The prosecutor also told the court that counsel to the second defendant was before her brother’s judge in another court.

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He informed the court that the two defendants had applied for a plea bargain, which was still being considered by the Attorney General of the state.

Sule also drew the court’s attention to the amended 5-count charge as two previous defendants, Chiemeka Arinze, and Udeme Frank, were no longer captured in the new charge. He explained that one of them had passed on in prison while the other had been convicted.

The prosecutor asked the court to grant a new date for the arraignment of the defendants on the amended charge.

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Counsel for the second defendant, Nelson Onyejiaka who had come in then announced his appearance, and confirmed that plea bargain talks were indeed ongoing.

Justice Coker noted that with the absence of Evans’s counsel, the proceedings could not go on.

She then directed Evans to make sure his counsel was present on the next adjourned date, and subsequently fixed June 13 for arraignment and a report on the plea bargain agreement.

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