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Lagos Oba kidnap trial stalled over change of counsel

04 November 2016, 15:25

Lagos - The trial of four men who allegedly kidnapped the traditional ruler of Iba Town, Oba Goriola Oseni, was on Friday stalled due to disagreement between two counsel over representation of an accused.

The accused - Duba Furejo, Ododomo Isaiah, Reuben Anthony, and Yerin Fresh – were arraigned before a Lagos High Court sitting at Igbosere on Oct. 24.

They pleaded not guilty to an eight-count charge bordering on conspiracy, murder, attempted murder, armed robbery, robbery and kidnapping.

At the resumed hearing on Friday, Mr Seliowei Baidi announced his appearance for the first, second and fourth accused, but another lawyer, Mr Anthony Onwueze, also announced that he was representing the fourth accused, Yerin Fresh.

Baidi, following the incident, told the court that rules of professional ethics had been breached, as a formal letter should have been written to him informing him about the change of counsel.

He said that his professional fees should be paid before another counsel could take over the case of the fourth accused.

Also Read: Gunmen kidnap Iba monarch in Lagos, shoot wife, kill guard

Baidi read out to the court Rule 29 of the rules of professional ethics, which provided guidelines on how a counsel could be disengaged from continuing to represent an accused in a case.

Onwueze, however, informed the court that he had approached Baidi before the court sitting to inform him that he was briefed to represent the fourth accused.

The Prosecutor, Mrs E. I.  Alakija, told the court that Section 234 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law, 2011, provided for a formal notice to be given before a counsel could be disengaged from representing a client.

Alakija, who is the Lagos State Director of Public Prosecutions, urged the court to adjourn the case to allow both counsel to resolve their differences.

Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo, consequently, said: “Both lawyers are advised to abide by the rules of professional ethics.

“The case is hereby adjourned till Nov.  11 for hearing.  Witnesses must be in court and counsel must have resolved this issue.”

The prosecutor had, during arraignment, said that the accused committed the offences on July 16, at Oba’s Palace, Iba Town,  Lagos.

She said that the accused conspired with others at large and kidnapped the Oba of Iba Town, Oba Oseni.

She also said that the accused murdered two persons at the Oba’s palace – a guard at the palace, one Sunday Okanlawon, and a commercial motorcyclist, Joseph Okeke.

The prosecutor said that the accused, while armed with guns, attempted to murder one Abosede Oseni, wife of the monarch, and also robbed her of her mobile phone.

She said that the offences contravened Sections 223, 230, 297, 299, 411 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State Ch. C17, Vol. 3, Laws of Lagos 2015.

- NAN

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- NAN

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