The death of three witnesses who died in police custody during the trial of kidnap Kingpin, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike alias Evans has been asked to be probed.
Evan’s lawyer made the request on Friday at the Ikeja Special Offences Court in Lagos, to probe the deaths of three witnesses in police custody during the trial of Evans.
He told Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo of the Ikeja Special Offences Court that the three witnesses who were standing trial with Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike alias Evans and Adubua died in police custody and no autopsy was carried out to reveal the cause of death.
The defence counsel noted that the fact that they died in police custody while they were hale and hearty when they were arrested by the police raises serious questions into the confessional statements obtained from the leader of the gang.
The two lawyers Emmanuel Ochai and his colleague made the submissions in the adoption of their final written addresses before the judge.
They told the court that the prosecution has failed in several ways to prove the case against Evans and his co-defendant beyond reasonable doubt and urged the court to discharge and acquit them.
Ochai said, “It is a criminal trial and therefore it is the duty of the Court to interrogate evidence of prosecution since the allegations are weighty and carries either death or life imprisonment hence the need to interrogate the prosecution along with evidence.
He said that four witnesses testified during the trial, adding that there were doubts in evidence preferred by the prosecution. “In the first place the trial started on a wrong footing. The provision of the constitution which makes it mandatory for suspects to be arraigned in 24 hours was brushed aside.”
The counsel contended that there were discordant notes when the defendants were arrested in 2014 but were arraigned in 2017.
“Justice is two ways the accused and the accuser, Onyebuchi who had contact with the kidnappers was not brought to this court as evidence and that others have no contact with the so called kidnappers.”
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Ochai, who questioned the testimonies before the court said two venues were mentioned in evidence as the location the kidnap act took place. One in Amuwo Odofin, while another said the incident took place at Isolo and wondered if the statement is actually true when the venue of the kidnap has become a subject of doubt.
He explained that no telephone numbers were provided as evidence by the police when they could have obtained the call logs from the telecommunications companies.
Five suspects were arrested, three were picked up by police and they told us that three people died, I want an inquest into why the three people died in police custody,” he said.
In his reply, the prosecuting counsel, Yusuf Sule, prayed the court to convict the first and second defendants accordingly.
He said that a defendant need not be seen at the scene of the crime to be convicted, stressing that though the confession of one person cannot be used against another person, there are exemptions, where the nexus correlates and interwoven, quoting a Supreme Court judgement.
Sule said there is nothing before the court that showed they were tortured or killed. “No evidence to suggest that. No evidence before the court that they were hale and hearty as at the time of arrest.”
After listening to the submission of counsels, the judge adjourned till September 19 for judgement.
Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike alias Evans is standing trial alongside Aduba, an ex-soldier, for kidnapping a businessman, Sylvanus Ahamonu and collecting a 420,000 dollars ransom from his family.
They are facing a four-count charge bordering on kidnapping and unlawful possession of firearms.