An Igbosere High Court, Lagos state, has again dismissed the application seeking to quash the charge filed against the suspected kidnap kingpin, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike a.k.a Evans by the Lagos State Government.
Justice A. Akintoye who presided over the court, today, while ruling on the application, said that charges filed against Evans did not offend the rule of duplicity as enshrined in our laws, therefore lacked merit.
Evans who is standing trial on a fresh five-count charge bordering on conspiracy to kidnap, kidnapping and attempted murder, had on May 25, asked the court to quash all charges filed against him.
In a motion on notice, the defendant had said that all the charges were “grossly defective, repetitive and an abuse of court processes”.
Evans is charged alongside three others: 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, Justice Akintoye said that the processes filed by both counsel to the case identified three major issues for determination.
“Whether a prima facie case has been established, whether the charges are incompetent and whether the court has jurisdiction to entertain the charge,” she said.
Akintoye said that for a prima facie case to be established, the proof of evidence must sufficiently link the defendants with the offence.
She said “looking closely at the proof of evidence, a prima facie case has been established.
“The statement of one the victims stated that Evans shot him with a gun, cleaned the wound by himself and asked the third defendant to look after him (victim)”.
The judge also held that the charge was not an abuse of court process, adding that every distinct offence should be charged separately.
She, however, stated that the information did not offend the rule of duplicity as enshrined in Sections 152 and 153 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law (ACJL) of Lagos State.
Justice Akintoye said that the charges were not defective nor an abuse of court process, “the charge disclosed different offences with different facts, different victims and different places”.
She also said that the defendant did not prove that there was any miscarriage of justice in the charge filed.
She said on the issue whether court has jurisdiction, the argument was that the court has the power to quash charge.
She, however, held that the application to quash charge was premature.
“The defendant must wait until the close of prosecution’s case before filing to quash charge, the application to quash charge and to discharge the defendants is hereby refused and dismissed.
“The application lacked merit, I so hold,” Akintoye ruled.
After the ruling, the prosecutor, the State Director of Department Public Prosecutions (DPP), Ms Titilayo Shitta-Bey, said in view of the ruling, we ask that the defendants be arraigned.
The defendants were however arraigned as stated in the second charge whereby Evans is being tried alongside Joseph Emeka, Linus Okpara and Victor Aduba.
The five-count charge was read to them which stated that the defendants committed the alleged offences on September 7, 2015, at seventh Ave. Festac Town, Lagos.
The charge stated that the defendants conspired among themselves to kidnap Chief James Uduji, collected a ransom of $1.2 million Dollars and attempted to murder him.
The charge also stated that the defendants while armed with firearms attempted to kill Mr
Donatus Nwoye by shooting him on his hand.
It also read that Evans ahd his co-accused attempted to kill Mr. Jereome Okezie by shooting him on his hand and head.
The offences according to the prosecution are contrary to and punishable under Sections 230 (a) and 411 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.
They all pleaded not guilty to the charge.
Earlier, the judge acknowledged that Olukoya Ogungbeje, former counsel to Evans wrote a letter to the court withdrawing from the case.
However, Mr Noel Brown announced his appearance as Evans’ new counsel.
Counsel for other defendants, Mr Ogedi Ogu for the second defendant, Mr. Jude Igbanoi for the third defendant and Mr Emmanuel Ochai for the fourth defendant, were all present in court.
Justice Akintoye however remanded Evans and others in prison and adjourned the case until September 13, for trial.
Evans was arrested on June 10, 2017, and was arraigned in August 2017, before Justice Hakeem Oshodi at an Ikeja High Court for kidnapping.
He was also arraigned before Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo of Ikeja High Court, Lagos.