A Lagos State High Court at Igbosere, Lagos, has fixed November 10 to rule on whether to quash the murder and illegal sales of firearms charges filed by the Lagos State Directorate of Public Prosecutions against alleged kidnap kingpin Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike, alias Evans or not.
The presiding Judge Oluwatoyin Taiwo fixed the date on Friday after hearing two applications filed by Evans, lawyer, Mr. Olukoya Ogungbeje, challenging the competence of the two fresh charges and seeking to quash them.
The two fresh charges are different from one, involving kidnapping, on which Evans and his co-defendants were earlier arraigned on August 30, 2017 before Justice Hakeem Oshodi of the Ikeja division of the Lagos court.
The Lagos State Director of Public Prosecution DPP last Monday attempted to arraign Evans and others on the two fresh charges, but the move was resisted by Evans’ lawyer, Ogungbeje, who contended that the charges were incompetent, saying he had filed two applications seeking to quash them.
Justice Taiwo had then adjourned till today to entertain the applications.
Arguing the applications on Friday, Ogungbeje described the new charges as an abuse of court processes, contending that some of the counts bordering on kidnapping were merely a duplication of the ones filed before Justice Oshodi in Ikeja.
“Counts 4 and 5 constitute a gross abuse of court processes as similar charges on the same offence of kidnapping had earlier been filed by the prosecution against the same Evans in charge numbers LD/5962C/2017 and LD/5970C/2017,” Ogungbeje said.
He also challenged the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the murder and firearms charges filed against his client, saying they were federal offences which a State High Court could not entertain.
He contended further that the Lagos State DPP had not obtained the fiat of the Attorney General of the Federation to be able to prosecute the murder and fireams offences.
Besides, he said he had looked through the proof of evidence filed by the state in support of the murder and sales and transfer of firearms charges but could not find any evidence that supported the charges.
He said there was no need for the court to proceed into the trial of the case as there was no evidence to support the murder charges.
Two of the counsel for Evans’ co-defendants, Ogedi Ogu and A.B. Josiah, adopted Ogungbeje’s arguments and urged the court to quash the charges and free their clients also.
But the Lagos State Director of Public Prosecutions, Ms. Titilayo Shitta-Bay, said the applications by the defence counsel stemmed from a misconception of sections 153 and 154 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law of Lagos State, which, she said, guide the filing of charges.
She said the victims in the different kidnappng and murder charges were different and the offences were committed at various times and places, adding that the defendants in the three charges, execept Evans, were different.
She said the state decided to file separate charges in order not to complicate its case, adding that the strategy adopted by the state was allowed by the law.
She also said contrary to Ogungbeje’s argument, the Lagos State DPP had since January this year secured a general fiat of the Attorney General of the Federation to prosecute federal offences.
After hearing all the parties, Justice Taiwo adjourned till November 10, 2017 for ruling.