An Igbosere high court, Lagos, on Wednesday, ordered Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike, suspected billionaire kidnapper better known as Evans, to engage a legal representative by May 17.
Adedayo Akintoye, the lead judge, gave the order due to the absence of Chino Obiagwu, Evans’ counsel, for the third time in a row which again stalled the continuation of hearing in the on-going trial of the alleged kidnap kingpin.
“If your lawyers don’t want to appear, we cannot force them,” said the judge.
“You have three options, you can get another lawyer to represent you or the court can appoint one for you or you can defend yourself.
“This is last day I will give you to get a lawyer”.
Akintoye adjourned the case until May 17 for continuation of trial.
NAN reports that Evans trial was on January 30 and March 1, stalled due to the absence of the defence counsel, adding that on March 22 the court did not sit.
Evans is currently facing charges, bordering on conspiracy to kidnap, kidnapping and attempted murder.
In the first charge, Evans is standing trial alongside Joseph Emeka, Ugochukwu Nwachukwu and Victor Aduba.
In the second charge, he is standing trial alongside Joseph Emeka, Linus Okpara and Victor Aduba.
At the resumed hearing on Wednesday, Evans’ counsel did not make any appearance.
NAN reports that no member of Evans’ legal team was present, adding that there was no letter to the court to explain the reason for the absence.
“The last time we spoke, he told me that he will appear on the next sitting,” Evans told the court.
However, Y. G. Oshoala, the prosecutor, prayed the court to invoke Section 233 (3) of the administration of criminal justice law (ACJL) which empowers the court to appoint a counsel for the defendant.
“Where the defendant fails to secure legal representation, the court has the discretion to order the legal aid counsel to provide a representation for the defendant,” Oshoala said.
“This is the third time this matter is called and the first (Evans) defendant is not represented”.
The court, however, advised Evans to ensure that he got a legal representative before the next adjourned date.