Justice Hakeem Oshodi of an Ikeja High Court has ordered suspected kidnap Kingpin, Chukwudimeme Onwuamadike alias Evans and three other defendants, to ensure they have legal representation by June 14.
Evans is standing trial alongside Uche Amadi, Ogechi Uchechukwu, Chilaka Ifeanyi, Okwuchukwu Nwachukwu and Victor Aduba, over the alleged kidnap of Chief Executive Officer of Maydon Pharmaceutical Limited, Mr Donatius Dunu.
NAN reports that the six were arraigned on August 30, 2017 on two counts of conspiracy and kidnapping. According to the prosecution, they allegedly kidnapped Dunu and collected 223,000 Euros (N100m) as ransom. Evans and his co-defendants had pleaded not guilty to all the charges.
At the resumption of the trial on Thursday, proceeding was stalled due to the absence of defence counsel for Evans, Amadi, Uchechukwu and Ifeanyi.
Following the development, Justice Oshodi mandated Evans and the three other defendants to ensure they have legal representation by June 14, the next adjourned date.
The judge also directed that counsel from the Office of the Public Defender (OPD) should be in court on the next adjourned date to represent the defendants in case they failed to get counsel to represent them in court.
“If on the next day, the defence, counsel are not around, the courts will order the defendants to either represent themselves or the court invokes Section 233(3) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law.
“The prosecution shall also notify the Office of the Public Defender (OPD) to be in court on the next adjourned date.
“This case is adjourned to June 14 for the continuation of the evidence of PW4,” Justice Oshodi said.
Earlier during proceedings, Mr Emmanuel Ochai, the defence counsel, representing Aduba (sixth defendant), told the court that other kidnap trials involving Evans have been stalled in other courts for the same reason.
“We were before your learned brother yesterday at the High Court in Igbosere and we had the same issue.
“Due to the absence of the counsel to the first (Evans) and fourth (Ifeanyi) defendants here, the matter was stalled.
“I really do not know why there is no legal representation but we as counsel to the sixth defendant (Aduba) are ready to proceed,” Ochai also said.